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Aspects of embayed beach morphology in a micro-tidal setting in Malta

Schembri, Michael; (2018) Aspects of embayed beach morphology in a micro-tidal setting in Malta. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Embayed beach response is very often constrained within a specific geological and structural framework that can determine the nature of beach morphology and beach behaviour in response to dynamic forcing. The morphometric characteristics of 29 micro-tidal embayed beaches in Malta and Gozo were analysed for associations between headland and beach morphometry. Significant correlations exist between the embaymentization index (S1/Ro) and indentation index (a/Ro). The length of embayed beach shoreline is also well correlated with the embayment shoreline. Long-term shoreline behaviour was also analysed over a period of 60 years for eight of the embayed beaches. Anthropogenic interventions have contributed to significant shoreline retreat at Armier and Gnejna. Natural erosion of the low rocky shoreline has led to significant shoreline retreat at White Tower. Short-term variations in embayed beach morphology were analysed from 19 beach profiles surveyed over a period of two years to consider cross-shore and alongshore patterns of change. Storms events are the most important factor contributing to short-term morphological change. Variations in beach volumes allowed the quantification of the long-term net sediment exchange at these embayed beaches and the delineation of littoral cells. Morphological change is also dependent on the type and amount of available sediment. This is particularly important in embayed beaches, where sediment exchange is often limited. The sediment textural characteristics within these embayed beaches were used to describe the sedimentary environments, sediment provenance, transport mechanisms and also differentiate wave energy environments. Embayed beach sediments in Malta and Gozo are dominated by medium to very coarse sand with variable amounts of terrigenous rock fragments and carbonate sands of marine biogenic origin. Sediment exchange between embayed beaches is often limited and very much dependent on embayment configuration.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Aspects of embayed beach morphology in a micro-tidal setting in Malta
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Beach morphodynamics, embayed beaches, micro-tidal, Maltese islands.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10046152
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