Avalanching of the dune face: field observations and equilibrium theory

Paul van Wiechen, Jantien Rutten, Ryan Mieras, Katherine Anarde, Marion Tissier, Sierd de Vries

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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A field experiment to study dune erosion was conducted on the Sand Engine near Kijkduin, the Netherlands, from November 7th 2021 to January 7th 2022. Two artificial unvegetated dunes were constructed near the high water line, and experienced significant erosion through avalanching during three storms. This paper aims to identify what drives dune erosion through avalanching by using the collected data and equilibrium theory. Results suggest that the cumulative volume eroded through avalanching during a single high water is positively correlated with the profile mismatch between the pre-storm profile and a ‘storm equilibrium profile’, described by a 2/3rd power law, an empirical coefficient A, and the total water level. This mismatch is quantified by calculating the area integral of the profile that is acquired when the upper 35 m of the pre-storm profile is subtracted from the upper 35 m of the equilibrium profile. Avalanching commences when this mismatch becomes larger than approximately 0, after which 1 m3/m of sediment erodes from the dune face for every 3 m3/m mismatch. In addition, during one event avalanching occurred even though the elevation of the total water level did not exceed the initial elevation of the dune toe. This implies that a total water level that exceeds the initial elevation of the dune toe is not a requisite for avalanching and a collision regime to occur, which contradicts conventional definitions of dune erosion regimes. These results have implications on risk assessment of storm conditions on dune erosion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCoastal Sediments 2023
EditorsPing Wang, Elizabeth Royer, Julie D. Rosati
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-981-12-7989-8
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventCoastal Sediments 2023: Inclusive coastal science and engineering for resilient communities - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 11 Apr 202315 Apr 2023


ConferenceCoastal Sediments 2023
Abbreviated titleCS23
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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