Geologically controlled sandy beaches

How does geology affect what our sandy beaches look like and how they change?

Te Aka Mātuatua School of Science

Image not foundOur sandy beaches are constantly changing, and understanding this is critical with climate change. This paper reviews how many of our beaches have rocks, reefs and headlands, and the ways this needs to be considered for management.

Dr Shari Gallop and her collaborators have published an important paper that considers how coastal management should account for geological features: Geologically controlled sandy beaches: Their geomorphology, morphodynamics and classification

Beaches that are geologically controlled by rock and coral formations are the rule, not the exception. This paper reviews the current understanding of geologically controlled beaches, bringing together a range of terminologies (including embayed beaches, shore platform beaches, relict beaches, and perched beaches, among others) and processes, with the aim of exploring the multiple ways in which geology influences beach morphology and morphodynamics.

We bring these processes together by presenting a conceptual model of alongshore and cross-shore levels of geological control. Given the prevalence of geologically controlled beaches along the world's coasts, it is paramount for coastal management to consider how these beaches differ from unconstrained beaches and avoid applying inappropriate models and tools, especially with our uncertain future climate.

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Read the full research publication Geologically controlled sandy beaches: Their geomorphology, morphodynamics and classification.

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Dr Shari Gallop

Honorary Lecturer

Iwi: Ngāti Maru, Te Rarawa<br /><br />I work at Pattle Delamore Partners (PDP) in Tauranga and have an honorary lectureship at the University of Waikato.