Evolution of Beach Sand Size Distribution and Morphology Post-Hurricane Harvey

Date
2018
Authors
Lamm, Benjamin Thomas
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Abstract

The aim of this research is to examine the process of how the beach would slowly begin to return to a more stable state and if this state resembled the equilibrium state before the storm. In this research, we investigated the seasonal evolution of the sediment and morphological characteristics at six beaches post-hurricane Harvey. Sediment and morphological characteristics are very much interrelated. The interrelations became apparent as trends emerged that can only be explained through a combination of data from each of these aspects of the research. The reason this is important is because in analyzing these trends in comparison to historical trends, we can make projections about future trends. In doing so we can take a preventative approach to erosional damage to the coastline.

Our study involved obtaining core samples from three transects at six different beaches around the Port Aransas-Corpus Christi area. We took a novel approach at examining the cores in 10cm vertical increments in an effort to determine the depth of effect that the hurricane and associated hydrodynamic and wind forces had on sediment displacement on each of the beaches. Through comparison to data obtained in previous studies at the same sites, determined the effects that the hurricane may have on short-term recovery. In studying this recovery process, we can then begin to make suggestions for specific maintenance strategies that could help to mitigate the effects of erosion.

The results from our research indicate that the beaches that we examined are beginning to return to a more stable state in terms of sediment characteristics. Compaction and morphological changes show trends to support this conclusion. Temporal comparisons of sediment characteristics with other similar studies indicate that there has been little change in this aspect of the beaches characteristics.

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Keywords
beach morphology, coastal, compaction, hurricane, sediment distribution
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Department
Civil and Environmental Engineering