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The Geomorphology of Offshore Sand Bars on the North Coast of Ireland

R. W. G. Carter and K. J. Kitcher
Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section B: Biological, Geological, and Chemical Science
Vol. 79 (1979), pp. 43-61
Published by: Royal Irish Academy
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20494327
Page Count: 22
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The Geomorphology of Offshore Sand Bars on the North Coast of Ireland
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Abstract

Along the meso-tidal, high-energy, north coast of Ireland, crescentic, parallel and transitional sand bar forms are common elements in the offshore topography. These bars exercise an important control over continuing coastal stability as they both receive, store and feed sediment, and determine the nature and pattern of nearshore wave and tide processes. At any locality, planimetric bar form is determined by (a) nature of the shoreline, (b) sediment type and availability and (c) wave and tide processes. Major geomorphological changes occur during infrequent high-energy wave events when bars may either move seaward into deeper water, or migrate rapidly along shore. In addition there is some evidence that parallel bars at Magilligan may temporarily become crescentic forms during storms. Analyses of geometric properties of sand bars at Portrush and Magilligan suggest that the forms are not self-regulating, relying on minor changes in wave or tide processes to produce both oscillatory migration and variations in profile.

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