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Erosion and accretion along the arctic coast of Alaska. The influence of ice and climate

January 1, 1991

Coastline comparison on 1951 and 1981 charts to determine erosion and accretion showed that ocean-facing coastal bluffs were retreating while deltas were rapidly expanding. Where the coast is fronted by a lagoon, and coast-parallel sand and gravel islands, bluff retreat was reduced. The extensive bluff erosion was volumetrically balanced by accretion at the mouths of deltas. Coastal erosion is driven by ice-related processes, aided by the presence of an ice-eroded shelf. Rapid delta expansion is interpreted to have begun in the last 200 years, perhaps related to observed permafrost warming.