Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Accretion and Erosion Waves on Beaches

  • Douglas L. Inman
  • Scott A. JenkinsEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48657-4_1-2

An accretion/erosion wave is a local irregularity in beach form that moves along the shore in the direction of net littoral drift. The initial irregularity may be caused by a wide variety of events such as the bulge from an ephemeral stream delta, the material from the collapse of a sea cliff, erosion or accretion associated with convergence and divergence of wave energy over an offshore bar, erosion downdrift of a structure such as a groin, sudden loss of sand by slumping at the head of a submarine canyon, or rapid accretion due to beach nourishment as when dredge spoil is placed on a beach. Given the wide variety of causes leading to local beach irregularities, accretion/erosion waves are common transport modes along beaches.

The wave-like form of an accretion/erosion wave is related to the change in sediment transport rate along the beach (divergence of the drift). Specifically, an irregularity in beach topography along an otherwise straight beach produces wave refraction and...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Center for Coastal Studies, Scripps Institution of OceanographyUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Marine Physical LaboratoryScripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San DiegoLa JollaUSA