E.P. Berek, R.G. Dean


Following a change in wave direction, the active contours in an idealized pocket beach respond by rotating such that they approach a perpendicular orientation relative to the incoming wave rays. Assuming that cross-shore sediment transport does not contribute to this contour rotation, and that the contours are in the early stages of this equilibration process, the amount of contour rotation can be interpreted as the cross-shore distribution of the longshore sediment transport. As part of the Nearshore Sediment Transport Study, detailed nearshore profile measurements were conducted at Santa Barbara, California. Twenty-two of these profile lines were located on Leadbetter Beach, which is a quasi-pocket beach. To explore the concept described above, two of the nine intersurvey periods were selected due to their strong indications of wave direction change. Analysis of these data sets yielded two estimates of cross-shore distribution of longshore sediment transport which were compared with those presented by Komar, Fulford and Tsuchiya. Although these three distributions differ significantly, the effect of the tidal variations is to "smear" the differences in the inferred distributions as evident in the contour displacements. It was found that none of the relationships for longshore transport distribution predicted the amount of transport inferred in water depths greater than one meter. It is possible, especially for one of the intersurvey periods that the changes in contour locations were so extreme that substantial crossshore sediment transport was induced and would be interpreted as longshore transport occurring in water depths greater than had actually occurred. The method introduced here should be useful in other field and laboratory programs to investigate the cross-shore distribution of longshore sediment transport.


field investigation; longshore transport; transport distribution

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