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12.9: Shoreline Erosion

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    Shoreline Erosion

    Shoreline erosion depends on several factors:
    1) Amount of sediment to buffer land: If the sand supplied to a beach is less than the amount removed by shoreline erosion processes, the beach will retreat landward.
    2) Amount of tectonic activity: Uplift along the coastline allows erosion to provide sediments to a coastline. If the coast is not rising, then shoreline will retreat landward.
    3) Topography: Coastal uplands provide more sediments to beaches than flat coastal plain regions.
    4) Composition of land: Hard bedrock (such as granite) is harder to erode than softer unconsolidated deposits.
    5) Waves and weather: The greater the waves and storm-generated currents, the more material can be eroded.
    6) Coastline configuration: Coasts facing prevailing storm waves are eroded faster than isolated bays and down-wind protected shorelines (Figure 12.34).

    Coast erosion of headlands and bays
    Figure 12.34. Wave refraction focuses wave energy on headlands and deposits sand in quieter bay settings.

    Seasonal Erosional Changes to a Beach Profile

    During the winter, storm-wave energy is most intense. Waves wash up on the beach and erode sand, and transport it offshore to where wave-driven currents aren't so strong and the sand accumulates on offshore bars. Heavier materials (gravel and boulders) are concentrated on the beach (Figure 12.35).

    During the summer, lower wave energy prevails, and the sand gradually migrates back onshore, gradually expanding the beach seaward (Figure 12.36).

    ano nuevo ano nuevo sandy beach
    Figure 12.35. Cove Beach at Año Nuevo State Park (CA) in winter. Figure 12.36. Cove Beach at Año Nuevo State Park (CA) in summer.

    This page titled 12.9: Shoreline Erosion is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Miracosta Oceanography 101 (Miracosta)) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.