Different processes cause patterns of shoreline change which are exhibited at different magnitudes and nested into different spatial and time scale hierarchies. The 77-km outer beach at Cape Cod National Seashore offers one of the few U.S. federally owned portions of beach to study shoreline change within the full range of sediment source and sink relationships, and barely affected by human intervention. 'Mean trends' of shoreline changes are best observed at long time scales but contain much spatial variation thus many sites are not equal in response. Long-term, earlier-noted trends are confirmed but the added quantification and resolution improves greatly the understanding of appropriate spatial and time scales of those processes driving bluff retreat and barrier island changes in both north and south depocenters. Shorter timescales allow for comparison of trends and uncertainty in shoreline change at local scales but are dependent upon some measure of storm intensity and seasonal frequency. Single-event shoreline survey results for one storm at daily intervals after the erosional phase suggest a recovery time for the system of six days, identifies three sites with abnormally large change, and that responses at these sites are spatially coherent for now unknown reasons. Areas near inlets are the most variable at all time scales. Hierarchies in both process and form are suggested.
Additional publication details
Space and time scales of shoreline change at Cape Cod National Seashore, MA, USA
American Society of Civil Engineers
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
3 v.: xviii, 2620 p.
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Other Government Series
Larger Work Title:
Coastal sediments '99: proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Coastal Engineering and Science of Coastal Sediment Processes: conference theme: scales of coastal sediment motion and geomorphic change, Hauppauge, Long Island, New York, June 21-23, 1999