Holocene coastal dune fields used as indicators of net littoral transport: West Coast, USA
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Between Point Grenville, Washington, and Point Conception, California (1500 km distance) 21 dune fields record longshore transport in 20 littoral cells during the late Holocene. The direction of predominant littoral transport is established by relative positions of dune fields (north, central, or south) in 17 representative littoral cells. Dune field position is north of cell midpoints in northernmost Oregon and Washington, but is south of cell midpoints in southern Oregon and California. Downdrift sand trapping occurs at significant changes in shoreline angle and/or at bounding headlands that project at least 2.5 km seaward from the general coastal trend. Sand bypassing occurs around small headlands of less than 0.5 km in projection distance. A northward shift of the winter low-pressure center in the northeast Pacific Ocean is modeled from 11 ka to 0 ka. Nearshore current forcing in southern Oregon and northern California switched from northward in earliest Holocene time to southward in late Holocene time. The late Holocene (5-0 ka) is generally characterized by net northward littoral drift in northernmost Oregon and Washington and by net southward littoral drift in southernmost Oregon and California. A regional divergence of net transport direction in central Oregon, i.e. no net drift, is consistent with modeled wind and wave forcing at the present time (0 ka).
Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience not elsewhere classified