Date of Award

Summer 1976

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

John C. Ludwick

Committee Member

Chester E. Grosch

Committee Member

Victor Goldsmith

Committee Member

James Melchor

Committee Member

Randall S. Spencer

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35S38


From 1967 to 1974 medium to coarse sand dredged from the Chesapeake Bay was stockpiled approximately three miles offshore of Dam Neck, Virginia in hopes that the sand could be recovered for local beach renourishment projects. The resulting mound was surveyed over a two year period to determine if the sand is being removed by wave and current action and if the creation of a new feature on the ocean bottom changes the wave refraction patterns and perhaps creates local erosion.

Bathymetric profiles across the storage mound show some apparent morphological changes, but a detailed analysis of this data is presented which shows that the imprecision in the measured depths, due primarily to surface waves. prevents conclusions that these are real changes.

Sediment sampling of the storage mound revealed three distinct sediment types: exotic, a medium to coarse sand representing the stored sand; indigenous, a fine, well-sorted sand representing the natural shelf material; and mixed, a bimodal combination of exotic and indigenous sediment.

Wave notion and near-bottom currents are capable of suspending and transporting the sediment comprising the storage mound less than five percent of the time. Wave refraction diagrams show that the presence of the mound on the sea floor increases wave energy along a short segment of the beach for northeast waves and has perhaps caused increased local beach erosion.

It is concluded from the information available that during the study period there has been no major loss of sediment from the storage mound at the Dam Neck Disposal Site, and that offshore storage of sand is a feasible means of stockpiling sand for beach renourishment projects.


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