The East Sands, St Andrews : beach dynamics, harbour development and major shipwrecks
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The coastline is a dynamic and constantly changing environment with processes that continually work and modify the coastal margin. This research was initiated in an attempt to understand the changes along the coastline at East Sands, St Andrews. Fundamental to this is the examination of the shore profile: a vertical section along a line drawn perpendicular to the shore. Sometimes known as a ‘profile of equilibrium’, this is where all parts of the beach are adjusted to the prevailing conditions of wave intensity, in particular storm waves, and longshore currents. Combining what is learned from such a profile with information about the forces acting parallel to the shore, it is possible to construct a three-dimensional picture of coastal activities. The project aims to measure the changing profile of the East Sands using GPS surveying equipment. Collation of this data will allow the current coastline to be compared with a past database of East Sands profile results, in order to create a historical archive of the dynamics of the site over the last 2 years. Further, the profile changes will be compared to local weather records, in an attempt to reconcile known seasonal fluctuations of a coastal system to that of the changing profile. These ongoing processes have been further complicated with the construction of both a jetty and seawall. This adds a new dimension to the variations within the system, and ultimately the beach profile.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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