Beach-dune development prior to a shoal attachment: A case study on Texel Island (NL)

Filipe Galiforni-Silva*, Kathelijne M. Wijnberg, Jan P.M. Mulder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Shorelines bordering ebb deltas are often subject to deformation by the approach and attachment of ebb-tidal shoals. Although this is a common behaviour, little attention has been paid to the link between shoal migration and the multi-annual development of the adjacent beach-dune system. This study aims to understand beach-dune systems' behaviour during the approach phase of an ebb-tidal shoal attachment event. Topographic and bathymetric data of the barrier island of Texel (NL) was used to calculate shoreline position, beach and dune volume, dunefoot position, and shoal displacement rates. Two classical beach-dune interaction models were used to understand the observed behaviour: the surfzone-beach-dune model and the sediment budget model. The analysis revealed how a larger bank on the land-facing side of the ebb delta split into two smaller shoals with different morphological behaviours. One of the shoals (S1) moved consistently landwards, recently attaching the shore, whereas the second shoal (S2) is still evolving and presents a milder landward movement than S1. In parallel to the landward movement of S1, the adjacent coastline was subject to erosion, partially counterbalanced by nourishments. However, despite the erosion, dunes are growing in volume, suggesting a net positive transfer of sand from the beach to the dunes. In the surfzone-beach-dune model, regular nourishments positively affect beach state by maintaining sufficient beach size for aeolian sediment transport and reducing shoreline erosion. In the budget model, dune volume growth may occur despite a slightly negative beach budget. Framing Texel in the budget model implies that the beach budget before the start of the approach phase is crucial in defining the behaviour of the dune system during this phase. If the shoal approach significantly reduces the beach budget, the system may cross the budget threshold that dune building is possible. Thus, the dune system may evolve to an erosional state, including dune ridge dissection and blowout development. Hence, nourishments have been essential in keeping the current morphological state during the attachment of the shoal, as they restrict the system from crossing the negative morphological threshold. Thus, without the nourishments, beach erosion driven by the shoal might have led to morphological changes in the dune system that could lead to years of a weakened level of protection until foredune recovery after attachment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106907
Number of pages15
JournalMarine geology
Early online date24 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • Beach dune dynamics
  • Shoal attachment
  • Coastal dunes
  • Beach-dune interaction models
  • 22/4 OA procedure


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