The role of bore collapse and local shear stresses on the spatial distribution of sediment load in the uprush of an intermediate-state beach

Nancy L. Jackson, Gerhard Masselink, Karl F. Nordstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spatial variations in sediment load in the swash uprush and textural properties of sediment in transport were evaluated to investigate the mechanisms responsible for sediment transport during wave uprush. Four streamer traps were deployed at 2.0-m intervals across the swash zone of a sheltered, microtidal sandy beach at Port Beach, Western Australia, over a 4-day period. During these trapping experiments, offshore significant wave heights were 0.3-0.5 m and wave periods were about 10 s. The average width of the uprush zone was 6.9 m and the average uprush duration was 5.9 s. Cross-shore distributions of sediment load for 70 uprush events reveal a maximum in sediment load landward of the base of the swash (at about 20% of swash width) during single events and a maximum closer to mid-swash (at about 40% of swash width) during multiple events characterized by swash interactions. Settling velocity distributions of trap samples during individual uprush events are similar to distributions found on the beach surface, with the lowest settling velocities (finest sediments) near the base of the swash zone and maximum settling velocities (coarsest sediments) around the mid-swash position. It was found that sediment transport during wave uprush occurs through two distinct mechanisms: (1) sediment entrainment during bore collapse seaward of the base of the swash zone and subsequent advection of this bore-entrained sediment up the beach by wave uprush; and (2) in situ sediment entrainment and transport induced by local shear stresses during wave uprush. Both mechanisms are considered important, but the first mechanism is considered most significant during the early stages of wave uprush when sediment is transported mainly in suspension, while the second mechanism is likely to dominate the mid- to later stages of wave uprush when sediment is transported mainly by sheet flow. The relative importance of the two mechanisms will vary between different beaches with the morphodynamic state of the beach (reflective versus dissipative) expected to play a major role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Geology
Volume203
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Keywords

  • Australia
  • Bore collapse
  • Sediment transport
  • Sediment trap
  • Settling velocity
  • Swash

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