Morphological changes due to marine aggregate extraction for beach nourishment in the German Bight (SE North Sea)


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Finn.Mielck [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Facing the predicted rise in global sea level, sandy shorelines are under increasing pressure. In order to counteract the loss of material at eroding coastlines, beach nourishment is considered to be an environmentally friendly approach worldwide. This has resulted in a rising demand for aggregates, which are frequently extracted from the seafloor near the coast. In order to explore the long- and short-term morphological changes of such mining on the seabed, the largest extraction area in the German Bight (Westerland Dredging Area, established in 1984) was investigated in this study. Several measurement campaigns were conducted between the years 1994 and 2017 using a set of hydroacoustic techniques. The measurements revealed that up to 20-m-deep pits with diameters of more than 1 km were dredged into the seafloor. The depressions caused by this sand mining are still detectable more than 30 years later. Because of slope failures that mainly consist of fine sand, the formerly steep rims at fresh dredging pits smoothed within a few months. However, after approximately 1 year, muddy sediments dominated the deposition. Since the sedimentation rates are slow, a complete backfill of the post-dredging pits is likely to take many decades. A natural regeneration towards the former seafloor conditions is only visible at the shallow rims of the oldest dredging pits.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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48632
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Mielck, F. , Hass, C. , Michaelis, R. , Sander, L. , Papenmeier, S. and Wiltshire, K. H. (2018): Morphological changes due to marine aggregate extraction for beach nourishment in the German Bight (SE North Sea) , Geo-Marine Letters .


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