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Morphodynamics of intertidal bars in wave-dominated coastal settings — A review
Masselink, G.; Kroon, A.; Davidson-Arnott, R.G.D. (2006). Morphodynamics of intertidal bars in wave-dominated coastal settings — A review. Geomorphology (Amst.) 73: 33-49
In: Geomorphology. Elsevier: Amsterdam; New York; Oxford; Tokyo. ISSN 0169-555X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Beach morphology; Tidal range; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Masselink, G.
  • Kroon, A.
  • Davidson-Arnott, R.G.D.

    Intertidal bar systems are ubiquitous features on wave-dominated beaches in coastal settings with a significant (N1 m) tidal range. Depending primarily on the wave conditions and the tidal range, and to a lesser extent on the nearshore gradient, they can assume a variety of forms. Slip-face bars represent the most pronounced and dynamic intertidal bar morphology, and are generally found on their own around the mean high tide level. They usually form low on the intertidal beach after storm-induced beach erosion and develop into a berm under prolonged calm wave conditions. Low-amplitude ridges and sand waves represent multiple bar morphologies. The bars occur across the entire intertidal profile and they remain present throughout the year.Multiple intertidal bars tend to be rather subdued and relatively static, especially sand waves, and their origin remains unclear.The morphological response of intertidal bars to changing wave conditions is largely forced: bars build up and migrate onshore under calm waves, and are flattened and may migrate offshore during storms. The morphological response is, however, significantly affected by relaxation time effects and morphological feedback, particularly on beaches with multiple intertidal bars. Despite their morphological differences, the intertidal bar types exhibit pronounced similarities in their morphodynamics.Sediment transport processes and morphological response are principally controlled by the tidal water levels on the beach,because these, together with the offshore wave energy level and the beach morphology, determine the type, intensity and duration of the wave processes operating on the cross-shore profile.It is the dominant importance of tidal water level variations and wave processes in shallow water depths (swash and surf zone bores), rather than wave height variability and deeper water wave processes (breaking and shoaling waves), that constitutes the main difference between intertidal and subtidal bar morphodynamics.

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