Five Lake Erie bluffs (one interlaminated clay and silt, three clay-rich diamicts and one shale) were surveyed at about 2-week intervals and after wind storms for up to 5 years. Erosion of the bluff toes along this low-energy coast occurred during northeast wind storms, which produced surges of up to 1 m and surf-zone waves of up to 1.2 m. Wave impact and/or uprush caused quarrying, which removed most of the toe material, and abrasion. There were from 1 to 23 erosion events/sites, with maximum magnitudes of erosion ranging from 12 to 55 cm/event. Timing and magnitude were linked to erodibility, maximum water level, storm surge, storm duration and beach width. A threshold maximum water level and a threshold surge were necessary for erosion. At these thresholds, the beach was submerged and wave energy was directly expended on the toe. Erosion did not take place when there was shorefast ice or when debris slopes shielded the toe from waves. The originally cohesive toe materials are easily eroded when they weather to an essentially noncohesive state. Wave erosion is the crucial erosion process; removal of material from the toe prevents the development of a stable slope. ?? 1988.
Additional Publication Details
Coastal erosion: Processes, timing and magnitudes at the bluff toe