Landform Dynamics

LandformsThe geometry of the coastline is in constant flux. Coastal erosion is often observed by shorefront communities, but erosion is not the only process at work on the beach, nor is it constrained to a single environment. Landforms grow and shrink.  A sand bank may develop at a nodal point in the currents or vanish entirely if the sediment supply is disturbed.  Salt marshes keep pace with sea level and help dissipate the wave energy from nearby storms.  But a salt marsh can drown.  It can be damaged by wave action.   These elements do not exist in a vacuum and their permanence or fragility is dependent on multiple factors, while their presence or absence likewise impacts other features. An important objective of the Coastal System Group is to understand these landform dynamics. Through detailed observation, geophysical survey, and numerical modelling we discern what factors encourage the landform formation, and what threaten it. By investigating the resiliency of a barrier beach or durability of a deltaic system under various ecological, climatological, or anthropogenic stresses, we can cultivate sustainable management practices and better understand the impacts these systems have upon each other.

 

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