BEACH CUSPS AT POINT REYES AND DRAKES BAY BEACHES, CALIFORNIA

R.G. Dean, E.M. Maurmeyer

Abstract


Beach cusps, fairly common and periodic features along many shorelines have been the focus of numerous investigations. The primary efforts have been directed toward (1) determining a causative mechanism for their formation; (2) describing qualitatively the associated water motions and sediment transport; and (3) developing a predictive relationship for their spacing. As in other problems in nearshore dynamics (e.g. rip currents), it may be that there are various valid explanations for different occurrences of beach cusps. In addition to satisfying scientific curiosity, an improved qualitative and quantitative understanding of beach cusp mechanisms would contribute substantially to swash zone dynamics and to nearshore hydrodynamics and sediment transport in general. This paper describes a series of measurements of beach cusps and associated parameters carried out at Point Reyes and Drakes Bay beaches in northern California during the summers of 1977-1979. An attempt to idealize the beach cusp topography and the resulting swash hydromechanics led to a possible relationship between beach cusp spacing and swash parameters in which the spacing is linearly related to maximum swash excursion.

Keywords


beach cusps; Point Reyes; Drakes Bay

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