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Space and time scales of shoreline change at Cape Cod National Seashore, MA, USA

January 1, 1999

Different processes cause patterns of shoreline change which are exhibited at different magnitudes and nested into different spatial and time scale hierarchies. The 77-km outer beach at Cape Cod National Seashore offers one of the few U.S. federally owned portions of beach to study shoreline change within the full range of sediment source and sink relationships, and barely affected by human intervention. 'Mean trends' of shoreline changes are best observed at long time scales but contain much spatial variation thus many sites are not equal in response. Long-term, earlier-noted trends are confirmed but the added quantification and resolution improves greatly the understanding of appropriate spatial and time scales of those processes driving bluff retreat and barrier island changes in both north and south depocenters. Shorter timescales allow for comparison of trends and uncertainty in shoreline change at local scales but are dependent upon some measure of storm intensity and seasonal frequency. Single-event shoreline survey results for one storm at daily intervals after the erosional phase suggest a recovery time for the system of six days, identifies three sites with abnormally large change, and that responses at these sites are spatially coherent for now unknown reasons. Areas near inlets are the most variable at all time scales. Hierarchies in both process and form are suggested.

Publication Year 1999
Title Space and time scales of shoreline change at Cape Cod National Seashore, MA, USA
Authors J.R. Allen, C.L. LaBash, J. H. List
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 5211052
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center