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An analysis of the cross-shore beach morphodynamics of a sandy and a composite gravel beach
Karunarathna, H.; Horrillo-Caraballo, J.M.; Ranasinghe, R.; Short, A.D.; Reeve, D.E. (2012). An analysis of the cross-shore beach morphodynamics of a sandy and a composite gravel beach. Mar. Geol. 299-302: 33-42. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2011.12.011
In: Marine Geology. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0025-3227, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Beach morphology; Beach profiles; Beaches; Correlation analysis; Eigenfunctions; Gravel; Orthogonals; Sandy beaches; Australia, New South Wales [Marine Regions]; Marine

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Authors  Top 
  • Karunarathna, H.
  • Horrillo-Caraballo, J.M.
  • Ranasinghe, R.
  • Short, A.D.
  • Reeve, D.E.

Abstract
    In this paper, beach profile surveys acquired over more than a decade at a sandy beach (Narrabeen Beach, New South Wales, Australia) and a composite sand–gravel beach (Milford-on-Sea, Christchurch Bay, UK) are analysed to compare and contrast cross-shore morphodynamics of the two beach types. The different behavioural characteristics of the two beach types at decadal, inter-annual and intra-annual time scales are investigated. Comparisons of beach profiles with Dean's equilibrium profile and Vellinga's erosion profile show that the Dean's profile satisfactorily represents the time mean profiles of both beach types. Statistical and Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) analyses confirm the generally accepted model that the inter-tidal zone is the most morphodynamically active region on a sandy beach whereas the swash zone is the most dynamic region on a mixed sand–gravel beach. The results also imply that during storms composite sand–gravel beaches may become unstable due to cutback of the upper beach while sandy beaches are more likely to be unstable as a result of beach lowering due to sediment transport from the inter-tidal zone to the sub-tidal zone during storms. EOF results also show that Milford-on-Sea beach is in a state of steady recession while the Narrabeen Beach shows a cyclic erosion–accretion variability. A multivariate technique (Canonical Correlation Analysis, CCA) shows that on the composite beach a strong correlation exists between incident wave steepness and profile response, which could be attributed to the unsaturated surf zone, whereas on the sandy beach any correlation is much less evident.

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