The coastline of the southern Canadian Beaufort Sea consists primarily of unconsolidated bluffs. Although the sea is ice-free for 3 months of the year and wave energy is restricted by pack ice, the coast is undergoing regional retreat with erosion rates as high as 10 m a-1 in some locations. Simple and multiple regression analyses were carried out to determine the degree of correlation between the mean retreat rate measured at various locations and the different parameters that may control shoreline recession. Sediment texture, ground-ice content, cliff height, wave energy and shoreface gradient revealed medium to poor correlation with erosion rates, showing that the recessive evolution of the coastline can not be explained solely by wave-induced and subaerial processes. The comparison of nearshore echo-sounding records from 1987 with bathymetry from 1971 showed substantial erosion (up to 1 m) of the submarine profile between 12 and 15 m of water. There is strong evidence that this erosion has been caused by sea ice gouging on the seafloor. From depths of 5 to 9 m, accretion has taken place, possibly induced by ice-push processes, and inshore of the 5 m isobath wave and current erosion of the shoreface has occurred. These results suggest that the erosion of the inner shelf by ice gouging drives the erosion observed inshore on the coastal bluffs and nearshore zone as the shoreface profile strives for a state of dynamic equilibrium. ?? 1990.
Additional publication details
Coastal retreat and shoreface profile variations in the Canadian Beaufort Sea