The response of spit shapes to wave-angle climates

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DOI: 10.1061/40926(239)27



We investigate spit formation and evolution in light of the high-wave-angle instability in shoreline shape arising from a maximizing angle for wave-driven alongshore sediment transport. Single spits emerge in a simple one-contour line numerical model that evolves the coast using morphodynamic feedbacks and a 'climate' of waves approaching the shore from variable directions. Analysis of sediment transport and shoreline stability metrics illustrate how spits can be generated, demonstrating how waves from all angles can play a role in spit formation and evolution. Simulations suggest that regardless of whether high- or low-angle waves dominate relative to the general shoreline trend, as spits extend offshore, they tend to orient themselves such that most of their coast barely experiences low-angle waves and alongshore sediment transport to the spit end is maximized. This 'graded' spit shape minimizes gradients in sediment flux, while the recurve at the spit end experiences larger gradients and a region of high-angle instability. Examining hindcast wave data, similar trends are seen along the natural example of Long Point, Lake Erie, Canada. ?? 2007 ASCE.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
The response of spit shapes to wave-angle climates
0784409269; 9780784409268
Year Published:
Conference Title:
6th International Symposium on Coastal Engineering and Science of Coastal Sediment Processes
Conference Location:
New Orleans, LA
Conference Date:
13 May 2007 through 17 May 2007