Control of barrier island shape by inlet sediment bypassing: East Frisian Islands, West Germany

Marine Geology

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A study of the East Frisian Islands has shown that the plan form of these islands can be explained by processes of inlet sediment bypassing. This island chain is located on a high wave energy, high tide range shoreline where the average deep-water significant wave height exceeds 1.0 m and the spring tidal range varies from 2.7 m at Juist to 2.9 m at Wangerooge. An abundant sediment supply and a strong eastward component of wave power (4.4 ?? 103 W m-1) have caused a persistent eastward growth of the barrier islands. The eastward extension of the barriers has been accommodated more by inlet narrowing, than by inlet migration. It is estimated from morphological evidence that a minimum of 2.7 ?? 105 m3 of sand is delivered to the inlets each year via the easterly longshore transport system. Much of this sand ultimately bypasses the inlets in the form of large, migrating swash bars. The location where the swash bars attach to the beach is controlled by the amount of overlap of the ebb-tidal delta along the downdrift inlet shoreline. The configuration of the ebbtidal delta, in turn, is a function of inlet size and position of the main ebb channel. The swash bar welding process has caused preferential beach nourishment and historical shoreline progradation. Along the East Frisian Islands this process has produced barrier islands with humpbacked, bulbous updrift and bulbous downdrift shapes. The model of barrier island development presented in this paper not only explains well the configuration of the German barriers but also the morphology of barriers along many other mixed energy coasts. ?? 1984.

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Control of barrier island shape by inlet sediment bypassing: East Frisian Islands, West Germany
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Marine Geology
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Marine Geology
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