Statistical Variations in Beach Parameter Change Rates for Walled and Non-Walled Profiles at Sandbridge, Virginia

Date of Award

Spring 1993

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Director

David R. Basco

Committee Member

A. Osman Akan

Committee Member

George F. Oertel

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.E54B45


The interaction of seawalls {bulkheads) and beaches is a highly controversial subject today. In many locations all over the United States, seawalls have been both praised and ridiculed. It is well documented that Sandbridge, Virginia is, and has been, experiencing shoreline recession. Many believe however, that the recent construction of the seawalls has worsened this existing situation.

Fortunately, historical maps, and beach profiles are available to help determine if this is truly the case. The following defines several visible beach parameters, and describes how these parameters were calculated from two different data sources. Several methods and statistical techniques are then used to analyze the time rate of change of these parameters.

Statistical evidence was found supporting the hypothesis that at Sandbridge, a seawall experiences a slightly larger seaward volume erosion rate when compared to that of a dune. Other statistical evidence suggests that a dune's landward volume erosion rate is quite a bit higher than a seawall's. The result is a statistically higher total volume loss rate for a typical dune at Sandbridge. In general, the shoreline recession rate for a seawall at Sandbridge was found to be statistically higher than that of a dune. There was also some evidence found supporting the hypothesis that the elevation of a profile at the toe of a seawall will recede faster than the elevation in a dune profile at a similar location.


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