Changes in beach water table elevation during neap and spring tides on a sandy estuarine beach, Delaware Bay, New Jersey

Nancy L. Jackson, Diane P. Horn, Valerie Spalding, Karl F. Nordstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A field investigation of temporal and spatial changes in wind and wave characteristics, runup and beach water table elevation was conducted on the foreshore of an estuarine beach in Delaware Bay during neap (April 9, 1995) and spring (April 16, 1995) tides under low wave-energy conditions. The beach has a relatively steep, sandy foreshore and semi-diurnal tides with a mean range of 1.6 m and a mean spring range of 1.9 m. Data from a pressure transducer placed on the low tide terrace reveal a rate of rise and fall of the water level on April 16 of 0.09 mm s-1 resulting in a steeper tidal curve than the neap tide on April 9. Data from three pressure transducers placed in wells in the intertidal foreshore reveal that the landward slope of the water table during the rising neap tide was lower than the slope during spring tide, and there was a slower rate of fall of the beach water table relative to the fall of the tide. Wave heights were lower on April 9 (significant height from 17.1 min records < 0. 16 m). The water table elevation was 0.08 m higher than the water in the bay at the time of high water, when maximum runup elevation was 0.29 m above high water and maximum runup width was 2.0 m. The elevation of the water table was 0.13 m higher than the maximum elevation of water level in the bay 74 min after high water, when wave height was 0.12 m and wave period was 2.7 s. The use of mean bay water level at high tide will underpredict the elevation of the water table in the beach, and demarcation of biological sampling stations across the intertidal profile based on mean tide conditions will not accurately reflect the water content of the sandy beach matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-762
Number of pages10
Issue number3 B
StatePublished - Sep 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • General Environmental Science


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