Field-Measurement of Surface Wind and Sediment Transport Patterns in a Coastal Dune Environment, Case Study of Cala Tirant (Menorca, Spain)

Miquel Mir-Gual, Guillem Pons, Irene Delgado-Fernandez, Thomas Smyth

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Blowouts are integral features of coastal dune fields. Their presence enhances both geomorphological and ecological diversity and enables the movement of sand by wind. Their role as a ‘transport corridor’ may be, however, considered negative from a coastal management perspective in heavily touristic areas, where the existence of blowouts close to the foredune can enhance the loss of sediment from the beach. This paper investigated the relationship between airflow dynamics and patterns of sediment transport from the beach to established dunes through a trough blowout located on the foredune. Seven three-cup anemometers were used to measure wind speed and direction over a 24 h sampling period at a frequency of 1 min under onshore (parallel to the blowout axis) medium and high wind speeds (max of 17.9 ms−1). To measure sediment transport, a total of 12 vertical sand traps were located at three positions along the length of the deflation basin. The results indicated that small amounts of sediments went into the blowout from the beach and that the highest rates of sediment remobilization took place within the deflation basin. These results highlight two processes: (a) flow channelization induced by the blowout topography caused an increase in wind speed and sediment transport toward the depositional lobe, and (b) the presence of embryo dunes and herbaceous vegetation at the beach–blowout boundary effectively reduced the amount of sediment transport from the beach to the landform. The results confirmed the significant role that vegetation plays in controlling sediment movement and conserving the beach–dune system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2361
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2023

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