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Factors influencing the rate of beach sand wear: Activation layer thickness and sediment durability

López, M., Baeza-Brotons, F., López, I., Tenza-Abril, A.J., Aragonés, L.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.658 pp. 367-373
beaches, coasts, dams (hydrology), durability, energy, ravines, rivers, sand, water power, Spain
The construction of harbours on the coast and/or dams in river courses prevents the contribution of sediments from rivers and ravines to the coastline and interferes with natural coastal dynamics. In the present study, the main objective is to provide information to the coastal engineer to predict and quantify the wear and tear of sand for artificial beach nourishment, as well as the durability of the intervention. For this purpose: (i) the amount of sample used in laboratory tests is related to the actual activation layer due to waves, and (ii) the material durability (aging) is demonstrated. Sands belonging to 9 beaches in the province of Alicante (Spain) were tested and studied, with different sample quantities (60, 75, 100, 120 and 150 g), the granulometry, calcimetry and wear (using the accelerated particle wear test, APW). The results showed that (generally) the greater the amount of sample used (activation layer), the greater the mass loss (reduction to size <0.063 mm) during the first cycle of the wear test. This may be due to the fact that the greater the amount of material in suspension (as a consequence of greater energy for the same volume of water), the greater the possibility of collision between particles, and therefore, greater particle wear and greater erosion on the beach. In addition, when the same material was subjected to new wear test cycles, that is, without the addition of new material (as is currently happening on the coasts), the durability of the same was compromised up to its wear limit. Particle wear reduces the median sediment size, which encourages movement towards the off-shore zone. Therefore, the wave energy, the material durability and the median sand diameter are elements to be taken into account in a beach nourishment.