Beach-ridge development in Lake Michigan: Shoreline behavior in response to quasi-periodic lake-level events

Marine Geology



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Strandplains of arcuate beach ridges are common in coastal embayments in parts of the Great Lakes. Similarities in beach-ridge development and geomorphology are recognizable in many of the embayments in the Lake Michigan basin despite differences in size and shape, available sediment type and supply, predepositional slope and topography, and hydrographic regime between the embayments. These similarities are primarily a product of three scales of quasiperiodic lake-level variation ranging in time from 30 to 600 years and in water level change from 0.5 to 3.7 m. The interaction of these three lake-level variations can be represented on a Curray (1964) diagram (rate of water level change versus rate of sediment supply). The position of any shoreline on the diagram and the type of behavior the shoreline is experiencing is a product of the interaction of the three variations. Two large Strandplains of late Holocene beach ridges occur at opposite ends of Lake Michigan (Toleston Beach and Thompson embayment). The two areas exhibit similar patterns of beach-ridge development for the past 2600 calendar years. That is, both areas form beach ridges about every 30 years. Groups of 4 to 6 beach ridges reflect a longer-term lake-level variation of about 150 years. Only during the largest variation of about 600 years in duration do the two areas differ. The rise to the 1700 cal yr B.P. high caused the erosion of beach ridges back to 2800 cal yrs B.P. in northern Lake Michigan. In southern Lake Michigan, no erosion occurred during this lake level high. Differences in shoreline development between the two areas are related to the rate of sediment supply to the shorelines. As the sediment sink for the southern half of Lake Michigan, the southern strandplain received a greater sediment flux than the northern strandplain during the latter part of the late Holocene and produced a continuous record of beach-ridge development. ?? 1995 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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Beach-ridge development in Lake Michigan: Shoreline behavior in response to quasi-periodic lake-level events
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Marine Geology
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Marine Geology
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