What had been thought to be a minor source of Southern California’s beach sand – erosion from coastal bluffs and cliffs – could account for half of the sand on the region’s beaches.
Coastal geologists have assumed for years that sediment-laden rivers that enter the Pacific Ocean along the Central and Southern California coast supply up to 90 percent of the sand on the region’s beaches. However, new research by two independent groups of UCSD scientists indicates that what had been thought to be a minor source of sand – erosion from coastal bluffs and cliffs – could account for about half of the region’s beach sand.
Various types of concrete surfacing and reinforcement of bluffs as well as layering large boulders as rip-rap along the base of bluffs tend to "armor" them, slowing or preventing such erosion. Determining the source of sand, according to the researchers, is the logical first step in any effort to preserve Southern Californian beaches.
Rex Graham | EurekAlert!
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