AbstractThis paper reports the results of on-site observations of coastal revetment structures under extreme storm conditions on the Gold Coast of Australia. The Gold Coast is located at approximately Lat. 27° S on the East Coast of Australia facing the Tasman sea behind a narrow continental shelf and exposed to a relatively high energy wave climate as depicted in Fig 1. Tropical cyclones generate the highest storm activity on the Gold Coast with Ho values commonly exceeding 10m with the resultant onshore wave i.e. either the second or third wave reformed breaks within the range of 2.5 to 3.5m. Storm wave periods are usually between 8 to 18 seconds. The ocean beach on the Gold Coast, some 30km long has been receding since the early forties and this has resulted in the construction of nearly 20km of revetment walls to "protect" the rear beach. Whilst some walls in particularly erosion-prone areas were constructed in the 1920 decade, most have been constructed since 1967 which represented a particularly high cyclone prone year. Since the latter period the walls have been exposed to three further periods of high cyclone energy attack in 1972, 1974 and 1976. Nearly all revetment walls demonstrated at least some settlement and damage but over the three storm periods at least 0.8km of wall was completely destroyed. Most wall failures were monitored on site and whilst the construction of the walls varied in quality the observational results might well be classified as full scale prototype performance tests.
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