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Instruments for investigating shore and nearshore processes
Kirk, R.M. (1971). Instruments for investigating shore and nearshore processes. N.Z. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 5(2): 358-375
In: New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. Royal Society of New Zealand: Wellington. ISSN 0028-8330, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Kirk, R.M.

    On shingle beaches, changes in foreshore elevation and sediment distribution landward of the break point are produced largely by variations in the uprush and backwash of waves. However, very little is known about the forces active in this zone. A field instrument system which senses and records some of the parameters thought to influence beach erosion and deposition in this zone has been constructed. The equipment is also suitable for the investigation of a number of other shore and nearshore processes including erosion on sandy and rocky shores, and flow processes affecting littoral biological communities. In the swash zone two sensing heads, a dynamometer and a depth recorder, sense variations in uprush and backwash velocities, energies, discharges, and depths of flow. Both devices are electromechanical and are coupled to a recording unit on land by PVC-'insulated cable. The dynamometer (two force plates mounted back-to-back on a compression spring and coupled to variable resistances) has been calibrated, statically and in a flume, to obtain velocity determinations accurate to within 10 cm. Sec-1 of true flow speed. Average swash zone velocities lie between 100 and 300 cm . Sec-1. A parallel-wire resistance gauge mounted an a stilling (tube records flow depths. As water level rises and falls in the tube it alters resistance in a control circuit. The land unit, amplifiers and a strip-chart recorder, receives the output from the dynamometer and flow depth gauge. The recorder is equipped with a trip-pen so that analysis of wave periods or other variables tis possible in the field. With poles at known spacings across the shore and the trip-pen records, velocity distributions across the swash zone can be obtained. Measurements of velocity made near the bed with the dynamometer can then be related to the local surface velocity profile. Problems with the instrument system include inability to record velocities at several points simultaneously, and unreliable records of backwash parameters With low breakers on shingle beaches because of the small volume of flow and rapid percolation of water into the beach face.

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