Coastal and Submarine Morphology

By André Guilcher; B. W. Sparks et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter I
THE FORCES IN ACTION

A. WAVES
There is no point, in coastal geomorphology, in dwelling at length on waves in deep water, as these neither affect the sea-bed nor are affected by it. A few general points about such waves will suffice. Swell, which is produced by the wind but travels beyond the area where it is formed, is not affected by the sea-bed, as long as the depth is greater than approximately half the wave-length, i.e. the distance between two successive crests. Wave-lengths of more than 200 m. are rare. On the other hand, the orbital motion, imposed upon the molecules of water by the swell, does not cause them to return to exactly the same positions, because the radius of rotation decreases with depth. Thus, the backward motion in the troughs is less than the forward motion on the crests. Swell, therefore, creates a weak current in the same direction as itself, as Gilbert realized in 1885. Finally, the size of the swell depends on the speed and duration of the wind and the fetch, or distance over which it has blown. The increase in size of the waves is rapid at first but much slower when the fetch exceeds 1,000 km. and the time is longer than 50 hours ( Sverdrup and Munk).Waves near the coast . Near the coast swell undergoes two types of deformation before breaking.
a. In direction . It suffers the same types of deformation as light rays -- refraction, reflection, and diffraction, because it is a wave phenomenon.

Refraction is a change of direction due to the effect of the sea-floor and occurs when the depth is less than half the wave-length, provided that the isobaths are not parallel to the waves. Its extent may be calculated if we know the direction and length of the initial waves, the period of the waves, i.e. the time between the passing of successive crests, and the relief of the sea-bed, provided that the slope of the bed is not greater than 1 in 10. The refraction formula is

, where α is the angle

-15-

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Coastal and Submarine Morphology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 5
  • Contents 7
  • Illustrations 9
  • Introduction 11
  • Part One - Coastal Geomorphology 13
  • Chapter I - The Forces in Action 15
  • Chapter II - Shoreline Movements 41
  • Chapter III - Coastal Features Related To Sea Action 60
  • Chapter IV - Classification of Coasts 153
  • Chapter V - Coastal Evolution 179
  • Part Two - An Outline of Submarine Geomorphology 193
  • Chapter VI - General Remarks 195
  • Chapter VII - The Continental Margin 205
  • Bibliography 226
  • Chapter VIII - The Deep-Sea Floor 234
  • Bibliography 259
  • Index 267
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