Coastal Process Summary
How is the type of beach influenced by the energy
These are moderately stable shorelines especially in areas of
low energy exposure. Areas of low exposure may have distinct
backshores with shorelines that advance as sediment is accumulated.
In areas of high exposure they may form spits and larger beaches.
Smaller pocket beaches, which tend to be scarce and highly valued
shorelines, may form in medium exposure areas. In areas
of low exposure they may form estuaries, mud flats and tidal
marshes, which have highly productive aquatic habitats that are
very sensitive to contamination.
These are relatively stable shorelines although they may
'wobble' between periods of erosion or deposition especially
in areas of high and medium energy exposure; this effect can also
be exacerbated by storms. With increased energy exposure
there may be very large volumes of sediment movement making them
very dynamic. Structures that interfere with sediment
movement can trap sediment resulting in the loss of downshore
beaches. Transport shores with low energy exposure tend to have
highly productive aquatic habitat.
Increasing energy exposure results in very unstable shorelines
where storms can cause dramatic changes to the shoreline. With
increased exposure there is more sediment input into the longshore
drift system. Lower exposure shorelines have more sediment input
from streams or rivers.
Vegetation can be difficult to establish in high exposure areas,
while low exposure areas may have well established backshore
Shoreline protection measures are likely to fail in high
Page last updated: 01/10/15