Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Natural versus anthropogenic mechanisms of erosion along the upper Texas coast

By
Davin J. Wallace
Davin J. Wallace
Department of Earth Science, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77251, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
John B. Anderson
John B. Anderson
Department of Earth Science, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77251, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Antonio B. Rodriguez
Antonio B. Rodriguez
Institute of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina, Morehead City, North Carolina 28557, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2009

Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula have experienced a well-documented history of shoreline and bay shoreline change ranging from +3.63 m/yr to −1.95 m/yr. By integrating core, Light detection and ranging (LIDAR), and coastal change data, we develop a sand budget that attempts to quantify long-term sand sources (e.g., fluvial sand cannibalization through transgression) and sinks (washover fans, offshore sand bodies, and flood-tidal deltas). These results are then considered in light of anthropogenic influences (e.g., beach-nourishment projects, coastal engineering structures, and dredging operations) in an attempt to relate natural versus human influence on coastal change. Our findings suggest that hurricane washover (Galveston Island = 0.4 m/100 yr; Bolivar Peninsula varies from 0.154 m/100 yr to 0.095 m/100 yr) and offshore sand deposits are minimal long-term sand sinks. Flood-tidal deltas, however, appear to be major locations for natural sand sequestration. We also conclude that damming of rivers has had minimal impact on the upper Texas coast, although hard structures, such as the Galveston seawall and its groins, have exacerbated erosion along a shoreline that is currently sand starved. The impact of hard structures has mainly been one of trapping sand in locations where that sand would not have naturally accreted. Sand supply is minimal, so understanding and developing a better sand budget for the Texas coast are vital to sustainability.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

GSA Special Papers

America's Most Vulnerable Coastal Communities

Joseph T. Kelley
Joseph T. Kelley
University of Maine, Department of Earth Sciences, Orono, Maine, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Orrin H. Pilkey
Orrin H. Pilkey
Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
J. Andrew
J. Andrew
Centre for Coastal and Marine Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
G. Cooper
G. Cooper
Centre for Coastal and Marine Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of America
Volume
460
ISBN print:
9780813724607
Publication date:
January 01, 2009

References

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal