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Formation of beach-ridge plains: an appreciation of the contribution by Jack L. Davies

Journal Article


Abstract


  • A robust debate amongst coastal geomorphologists as to the processes by which

    beach-ridge plains around Australia have formed was initiated by a former President

    of the Institute of Australian Geographers. This review gives special consideration

    to the work of Jack L. Davies, whose academic contributions to coastal geomorphology

    in Australia have not always been appropriately acknowledged when

    explaining how similar plains have evolved elsewhere in the world. Davies

    recognised that relatively steep storm waves caused erosion (cut) on beaches,

    whereas less steep long-period swell waves returned sand (fill). He considered the

    beach berm to be the nucleus on which a beach ridge formed, which could subsequently

    develop into a foredune, in contrast to cobble ridges that were deposited

    during storms. Offshore conditions regulate supply of sand to the shoreline, partly

    through effects on wave refraction, with higher rates of supply where the nearshore

    is shallow. It was apparent to Davies that the elevation of successive ridges might,

    but not necessarily, provide evidence of past changes of sea level, despite adornment

    by variable amounts of windblown dune sand. Morphodynamic understanding

    of long-term coastal evolution, based on radiocarbon dating chronologies, has

    demonstrated that Australian coastal plains formed over the past ~6000 years when

    sea level has been close to its present level, in contrast to several documented locations

    in the northern hemisphere where the sea has been rising for the past few

    millennia. Particularly insightful were observations by Davies that ridge formation

    could be influenced by a range of factors including changes in sea level, storminess,

    or sediment supply. These factors acting singly or in combination seem likely to

    change in the future. Understanding such responses remains a high priority and

    can be addressed by new technologies, such as light detection and ranging, optically

    stimulated luminescence dating, ground-penetrating radar, and computer

    simulation.

UOW Authors


  •   Oliver, Thomas S. (external author)
  •   Thom, Bruce G. (external author)
  •   Woodroffe, Colin

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Oliver, T. S., Thom, B. G. & Woodroffe, C. D. (2017). Formation of beach-ridge plains: an appreciation of the contribution by Jack L. Davies. Geographical Research, 55 (3), 305-320.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84995542841

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/4680

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 15

Start Page


  • 305

End Page


  • 320

Volume


  • 55

Issue


  • 3

Place Of Publication


  • Australia

Abstract


  • A robust debate amongst coastal geomorphologists as to the processes by which

    beach-ridge plains around Australia have formed was initiated by a former President

    of the Institute of Australian Geographers. This review gives special consideration

    to the work of Jack L. Davies, whose academic contributions to coastal geomorphology

    in Australia have not always been appropriately acknowledged when

    explaining how similar plains have evolved elsewhere in the world. Davies

    recognised that relatively steep storm waves caused erosion (cut) on beaches,

    whereas less steep long-period swell waves returned sand (fill). He considered the

    beach berm to be the nucleus on which a beach ridge formed, which could subsequently

    develop into a foredune, in contrast to cobble ridges that were deposited

    during storms. Offshore conditions regulate supply of sand to the shoreline, partly

    through effects on wave refraction, with higher rates of supply where the nearshore

    is shallow. It was apparent to Davies that the elevation of successive ridges might,

    but not necessarily, provide evidence of past changes of sea level, despite adornment

    by variable amounts of windblown dune sand. Morphodynamic understanding

    of long-term coastal evolution, based on radiocarbon dating chronologies, has

    demonstrated that Australian coastal plains formed over the past ~6000 years when

    sea level has been close to its present level, in contrast to several documented locations

    in the northern hemisphere where the sea has been rising for the past few

    millennia. Particularly insightful were observations by Davies that ridge formation

    could be influenced by a range of factors including changes in sea level, storminess,

    or sediment supply. These factors acting singly or in combination seem likely to

    change in the future. Understanding such responses remains a high priority and

    can be addressed by new technologies, such as light detection and ranging, optically

    stimulated luminescence dating, ground-penetrating radar, and computer

    simulation.

UOW Authors


  •   Oliver, Thomas S. (external author)
  •   Thom, Bruce G. (external author)
  •   Woodroffe, Colin

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Oliver, T. S., Thom, B. G. & Woodroffe, C. D. (2017). Formation of beach-ridge plains: an appreciation of the contribution by Jack L. Davies. Geographical Research, 55 (3), 305-320.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84995542841

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/4680

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 15

Start Page


  • 305

End Page


  • 320

Volume


  • 55

Issue


  • 3

Place Of Publication


  • Australia