Who Moved The Beach

Student Worksheet

Part I - Coastal Erosion Subject Review

The following reports and articles contain the information needed to complete this worksheet:

“Evaluation of Erosion Hazards” prepared by the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment (summary report) http://heinzhome.heinzctrinfo.net/publications/PDF/erosnsum.pdf#zoom=100

“Coastal Change Hazards” U.S.G.S. Web site beginning at: http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/hurricanes/cch.html

“Coastal Erosion: Where’s the Beach?” Bridge Data Tip at: http://www.vims.edu/bridge/archive0500.html

“Beaches on the Brink” CNNfyi.com article at http://archives.cnn.com/2000/fyi/news/09/20/coastal.erosion/index.html

  1. Beach sand originates mainly from __________, and also comes from __________, and from __________.
  2. Coastal erosion is a natural process that removes sediment from shorelines. Another natural process that deposits sediment on shorelines is known as __________.
  3. Sand is generally moved offshore by high-energy waves during __________ months, and is returned by gentle waves during __________ months.
  4. Movement of sand parallel to the coast by wave action, wind, and currents is known as __________.
  5. Sea walls, jetties, and bulkheads may contribute to erosion because ________________________________________.
  6. The __________ or __________ (if there is no dune present) are the “first line of defense” against coastal erosion from wind and waves.
  7. __________ are composed primarily of sand and are the most dynamic land masses along the open-ocean coast.
  8. The impact of a storm on a barrier island is dependent on storm characteristics and the __________ of the barrier island when the storm makes landfall.
  9. The Coastal Change Hazard Scale categorizes net erosion during storms into __________ impact levels or ”regimes.”
  10. In the __________ Regime, waves cross the base of dunes, causing erosion and semi-permanent changes.
  11. In the __________ Regime, storm waves are high enough to completely submerge the island, allowing sand to be transported over a distance of one or more kilometers toward the mainland.
  12. In the __________ Regime, waves exceed the elevation of the dune or beach berm (if no dune is present), causing sand to be transported toward the mainland so the barrier island “migrates” landward.
  13. In the __________ Regime, waves are confined to the beach. Sand may move offshore, but will be eventually returned so there is no net erosion.
  14. Over the next 60 years, erosion may claim __________ of every _________ houses within 500 feet of the U.S. shoreline.
  15. Most of the damage from erosion over the next 60 years will occur in low-lying areas that also have the highest risk from __________.
  16. When the Cape Hatteras lighthouse was constructed in 1870, it was __________ feet from the shore. By 1987, the lighthouse was __________ feet from the sea due to coastal erosion.
  17. About 87,000 homes are located on low-lying land or bluffs that are likely to erode into the ocean or the Great Lakes over the next 60 years.
  18. Without additional beach nourishment or structural protection, roughly __________ homes and the land on which they are built will be lost to erosion each year.
  19. The average annual erosion rate along the Atlantic coast is about__________ feet.
  20. The highest erosion rates in the United States are in coastal areas bordering ____________________.
  21. A major storm can erode the coast inland __________ feet or more in a single day.
  22. The __________ coast has the largest number of structures located within the 60-year erosion hazard area.
  23. Ecological concerns related to erosion arise primarily because of the scarcity of __________.
  24. Coastal erosion may increase during the next 50 to 100 years if polar ice caps melt and cause a rise in __________.
  25. People have three choices when erosion poses a threat: __________, __________, or __________.

Part II – How to Graph Beach Profile Data Using Microsoft Excel®

Adapted from Bridge Beach Profile Graphing Exercise: http://www.vims.edu/bridge/beachgraph.html
  1. Right click here, then select "Save As" to download the data as a tab delimited text file. If using a Mac, press the "control" button while clicking. Open the data file "who_moved_the_beachdata.txt" in Excel®. You will get the Text Import Wizard.
  1. Select an empty cell, then click on the Chart Wizard icon.

Under the Series tab, go to the box listing the different series which will correspond to Y-values on your graph. Series 1 corresponds to column B on the data sheet (Donkey Beach Elevations). Enter “Donkey Beach” in the “Name” box, then click on Series2. This series corresponds to column C (Paradise  Beach Distance, March). Since we only want to plot elevations, click “Remove” to delete Series2 from the data. Continue this process, naming Series3, Series5, and Series7, and removing Series4 and Series6. Hit Next.

  1. To print the graph, go to File then Print Preview to make sure the graph looks right on the page. To make adjustments go to Setup. When the graph is ready, select Print.

  2. To save the spreadsheet and graph, go to File, Save As and change the Save as type to Microsoft Excel Workbook.
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