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Landscape change as recorded by the ocean shore railroad


This study focuses on the eroding bench of the Ocean Shore Railroad (1907-1920) along the central California coast. Investigation of the remnant feature demonstrates the impacts of landscape change on the human timescale. Topographic maps and georeferenced aerial photographs aid in the first digital registration of the coastal rail sections. Sixty locations at the northern end of the study area provide site-specific rates of erosion. The geographic information systems-based effort reveals a 66.7 km route divided among steep, hillslope- and terrace-dominated sections where natural and anthropogenic processes have shifted land cover from railway to roadway, open, agricultural, and developed spaces. For the 60 erosion assessment locations, only 25% of the 1928 rail bench width remains after 82 years and, in areas repurposed for the Pacific Coast Highway (1936-1957), only 38% of the 1956 road bench width remains after 54 years. The highest estimates of erosion are greater than 0.6 m yr (super -1) . These erosion values do not reflect episodic mass wasting, highlighting the limited utility of steady erosion rates in land-use decision.

ISSN: 1078-7275
EISSN: 1558-9161
Coden: ENGEA9
Serial Title: Environmental & Engineering Geoscience
Serial Volume: 22
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Landscape change as recorded by the ocean shore railroad
Affiliation: Stanford University, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford, CA, United States
Pages: 209-223
Published: 2015
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America, Association of Engineering Geologists, College Station, TX, United States
Number of pages: 37
References: 42
Accession Number: 2016-016539
Categories: Environmental geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables
N32°30'00" - N42°00'00", W124°30'00" - W114°15'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 201609
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