Spatial backshore processes were investigated through field observations of topography and median sand grain size at a sandy beach facing the Pacific Ocean in Japan. A comparison of the backshore profile and cross-shore distribution of the median sand grain size in 1999 and 2004 revealed an unusual sedimentary process in which sand was coarsened in a depositional area in the 5-year period, although sediment is generally coarsened in erosional areas. In support of these observations, monthly spatial field analyses carried out in 2004 demonstrated a remarkable backshore coarsening process triggered by sedimentation in the seaward part of the backshore during a storm event. In order to elucidate mechanisms involved in the backshore coarsening process, thresholds of movable sand grain size under wave and wind actions (a uniform parameter for both these cases) in the onshore and offshore directions were estimated using wave, tide, and wind data. The cross-shore distributions of the estimated thresholds provided reasonable values and demonstrated a coarsening mechanism involving the intermediate zone around the shoreline under alternating wave and wind actions as a result of which coarse sand was transported toward the seaward part of the backshore by large waves during storms and then toward the landward part by strong onshore winds. The 5-year backshore coarsening is most certainly explained by repetition of short-term coarsening mechanisms caused by wave-induced sand transport occurring from the nearshore to the intermediate zone.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)