Toward a Classification of Beach Profiles


  • Jose F. Araya-Vergara


Accretion, accretional profile, beach, beach erosion, beach processes, beach ridge, erosional profile, mixed profile, taxonomy of beach profiles



This is a taxonomic system supported by two basic data sets: morphology and genetics. The morphological basis is the notion of sequence or set of elements whose combination defines a simple profile as a whole. There are two kinds of sequences: beach profile and berm or ridge profile. A beach profile (sensu stricto) is formed by the couplet "beach face- upper beach" and a berm or ridge profile is formed by the couplet "beach face- backshore." Whole profiles are classified according to number of sequences into single. double, and multi-sequences. The genetic basis is the process, and then profiles are classified into accrettional, erosional, and mixed categories. The name of each group results from a combination of a number of sequences and processes. The empirical support of the classification is represented by 380 profiles surveyed along 413 km of coastline in central Chile. The number of identified groups partly depends on the observed coastal environment.Groups are hierarchically placed into categories according to the kind and number of sequences and the processes, respectively.