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The effects of sediment used in beach nourishment: Study case El Portet de Moraira beach

Chiva, L., Pagán, J.I., López, I., Tenza-Abril, A.J., Aragonés, L., Sánchez, I.
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.628-629 pp. 64-73
calcium, carbonates, color, microstructure, quartz, sand, shorelines, silicon, storms, turbidity, weathering
Actions taken to prevent or reduce coastal erosion often do not have the desired effect, leading to major problems instead of solving the original one. This research focuses on why a nourished beach— with borrowed sand and 0.05% of particles <0.063 mm— causes the presence of suspended particles that are observed by beach users as turbidity. This means that the colour of the water was not its characteristic blue, even with calm wave conditions. This research involved a shoreline evolution analysis and a sedimentological study of the sand from 1977 to 2017. The results show that the turbidity episodes that occurred after the beach fill of May 2017 do not coincide with major storms that affected the beach. Furthermore, prior to this beach nourishment, even after the most important storms turbidity was not so pronounced. However, when the pre-nourishment and post-nourishment sediment are compared and analysed in detail, by studying the microstructure and morphology of the sand particles, their composition and morphology were observed to be completely different. These differences are also reflected in the accelerated particle weathering test, with the post-nourishment particles showing greater dissolution of carbonates. From its mineralogy, the post-nourishment material presents a smaller proportion of quartz in its composition and a significant amount of particles (9.6%) formed by clusters of Calcium and Silicon. The separation of this mineralogical composition produced by waves explains the formation of particles measuring <0.063 mm, a fact that has also been confirmed by the accelerated particle weathering test. This is, therefore, the cause of turbidity in the swash zone of the beach.