The Halekulani Sand Channel and the Makua Shelf off the south shore of Oahu contain at least 1.3 million m3 of sediment that is a possible resource for nourishing degraded sections of Waikiki Beach. A sidescan sonar survey indicates continuous sediment cover within the channel and on the shelf, and samples from the top and bottom of vibracores from the channel and shelf contain from 29% to 77% of grains between 0 to 2.5 phi (1 to 0.177 mm), the size range of four samples from Waikiki Beach. Compositional analyses indicate high variability, but the vibracore samples normally have relatively high Halimeda content compared to beach sand samples. Laboratory tests show a positive correlation of abrasion with Halimeda content, suggesting that the offshore sediment would abrade more than beach sediment under nearshore wave action. The common gray color of the offshore sediment can be aesthetically undesirable for sand on popular tourist beaches such as Waikiki; however, visual observation of native beach sand indicates that a significant component of gray color is endemic to many Hawaiian beaches. The gray color was removed in the laboratory by soaking in heated hydrogen peroxide. The geological properties of the offshore sediment indicate potential as a resource for beach nourishment, but industrial treatment might be necessary to remove excess fine and coarse grains, and possibly the gray color. Further, the abrasion potential might have to be considered in calculating beach sand losses over time.
Additional publication details
The Halekulani Sand Channel and Makua Shelf sediment deposits: Are they a sand resource for replenishing Waikiki's beaches?