• Robert J. Nicholls
  • Lauren Burt
  • Joel Smethurst
  • Charlotte Thompson


Barrier beaches often overlie backbarrier deposits composed of poorly consolidated sediments. Hence, they can consolidate significantly if loaded. A retreating barrier beach provides such a load. In the static situation of beach nourishment, the increased load of the raised beach volume will also cause increased consolidation. These can lower beach elevation promoting wave overtopping, overwashing and retreat. However, there is limited research concerning the role of consolidation on the stability of barrier beaches worldwide. This paper focuses on this issue using Hurst Spit on the UK south coast as a study site where consolidation is a known significant process (Nicholls, 1985; Burt et al., 2018). It is a storm beach composed of shingle (pebble and cobble) sediments and formerly retreated at 2 to 3 m/yr, Since the later 1990s it has been more stabilized by a major nourishment (Bradbury and Kidd, 1998), but continues to retreat slowly (Figure 1). A second nourishment phase is now being actively assessed following major damage in the large storm of 14 February 2014. In this context, the role of consolidation has been analyzed via new data collection, consolidation modelling and morphodynamic modelling. This paper presents these results and their implications.


Bradbury, Kidd (1998). Proceedings of the 33rd MAFF (Defra) Conference of River and Coastal Engineers.

Burt, Nicholls, Smethurst, Thompson (2018) Marine Geology, in preparation.

Nicholls (1985) Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Southampton.

Rosati, Dean, Stone (2010). Marine Geology (271) 1-16

How to Cite
Nicholls, R. J., Burt, L., Smethurst, J., & Thompson, C. (2018). IMPLICATIONS OF CONSOLIDATION ON BARRIER BEACH STABILITY. Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 1(36), sediment.67.