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Rates and processes of bluff recession along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Illinois

Journal of Great Lakes Research

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Abstract

Examined bluffs along 30 km of the Lake Michigan shoreline from Wilmette to Waukegan, Illinois, to measure amounts and variation in retreat rates and to determine what factors control rates and processes of retreat. The predominant bluff-retreat process is shallow- to intermediate-depth translational landsliding triggered by heavy rainfall and wave erosion at the base of the bluff; rotational slumping and shallow creep and earth flow also are common. Using historical maps and airphotos, we measured amounts of bluff-top retreat at 300 locations. For two time periods, 1872-1937 and 1937-1987, rates of retreat vary from 10 to 75 cm/yr between discrete segments of bluffs (defined by lithology) and between time periods for a given bluff segment. The average retreat rates for the entire area, however, do not vary significantly between the two time periods and are approximately 20-25 cm/yr. Longterm average and short-term extreme lake levels and precipitation also do not vary significantly between the two periods, and thus local temporal variations in retreat rate cannot be attributed to these factors. Shore protection built to date may have altered the spatial distribution of retreat rates in the area but has had little overall effect on the average regional retreat rates. -from Authors

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Rates and processes of bluff recession along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Illinois
Series title:
Journal of Great Lakes Research
Volume
20
Issue:
1
Year Published:
1994
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
135
Last page:
152
Number of Pages:
18