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Young, AP, Guza RT, Dickson ME, O'Reilly WC, Flick RE.  2013.  Ground motions on rocky, cliffed, and sandy shorelines generated by ocean waves. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 118:6590-6602.   10.1002/2013jc008883   AbstractWebsite

We compare ground motions observed within about 100 m of the waterline on eight sites located on shorelines with different morphologies (rock slope, cliff, and sand beaches). At all sites, local ocean waves generated ground motions in the frequency band 0.01-40 Hz. Between about 0.01 and 0.1 Hz, foreshore loading and gravitational attraction from ocean swell and infragravity waves drive coherent, in-phase ground flexing motions mostly oriented cross-shore that decay inland. At higher frequencies between 0.5 and 40 Hz, breaking ocean waves and wave-rock impacts cause ground shaking. Overall, seismic spectral shapes were generally consistent across shoreline sites and usually within a few orders of magnitude despite the diverse range of settings. However, specific site response varied and was influenced by a combination of tide level, incident wave energy, site morphology, ground composition, and signal decay. Flexing and shaking increased with incident wave energy and was often tidally modulated, consistent with a local generation source. Flexing magnitudes were usually larger than shaking, and flexing displacements of several mm were observed during relatively large incident wave conditions (Hs 4-5 m). Comparison with traffic noise and earthquakes illustrate the relative significance of local ocean-generated signals in coastal seismic data. Seismic observations are not a simple proxy for wave-cliff interaction.

Young, AP, Guza RT, Adams PN, O'Reilly WC, Flick RE.  2012.  Cross-shore decay of cliff top ground motions driven by local ocean swell and infragravity waves. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 117   10.1029/2012jc007908   AbstractWebsite

Ground motions at the frequencies (between 0.01 and 0.1 Hz) of ocean infragravity and swell waves were observed on a cross-shore transect extending landward from the edge of a southern California coastal cliff. Cliff top ground motions are coherent and in phase with water level fluctuations at the cliff base. Vertical ground motions at infragravity and single frequencies decay rapidly with inland distance from the cliff edge (e-folding scale is about 12 m), and at the edge decrease by several orders of magnitude between high tide when waves reach the cliff base, and low tide when the waterline is about 50 m from the cliff base. The observed cross-shore decay scales are qualitatively consistent with gravitational loading and attraction of water waves at tidally modulated distances from the cliff base. At approximately constant distance from the waterline, ground motions vary roughly linearly with nearshore swell wave energy. In contrast to these locally forced ground motions, double frequency band (0.1-0.2 Hz) cliff top vertical ground motions are remotely generated with spatially uniform magnitudes approximately equal to those observed 14 km inland. Near the cliff edge, ground tilt dominates the observed large (relative to vertical) cross-shore acceleration at infragravity frequencies, contributes significantly to cross-shore acceleration at swell frequencies, and is a small fraction of cross-shore acceleration at higher frequencies.

Young, AP, Olsen MJ, Driscoll N, Flick RE, Gutierrez R, Guza RT, Johnstone E, Kuester F.  2010.  Comparison of Airborne and Terrestrial Lidar Estimates of Seacliff Erosion in Southern California. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. 76:421-427. AbstractWebsite

Seacliff changes evaluated using both terrestrial and airborne lidar are compared along a 400 m length of coast in Del Mar, California. The many large slides occurring during the rainy, six-month study period (September 2004 to April 2005) were captured by both systems, and the alongshore variation of cliff face volume changes estimated with the airborne and terrestrial systems are strongly correlated (r(2) = 0.95). However, relatively small changes in the cliff face are reliably detected only with the more accurate terrestrial lidar, and the total eroded volume estimated with the terrestrial system was 30 percent larger than the corresponding airborne estimate. Although relatively small cliff changes are not detected, the airborne system can rapidly survey long cliff lengths and provides coverage on the cliff top and beach at the cliff base.

Elwany, MHS, Flick RE, Aijaz S.  1998.  Opening and closure of a marginal southern California lagoon inlet. Estuaries. 21:246-254.   10.2307/1352472   AbstractWebsite

Over the past 50 yr, direct observations of the inlet status (open or closed) of San Dieguito Lagoon, a typical southern California lagoon located in Del Mar, California, have shown that river flooding is the major natural determinant of inlet conditions on time scales longer than a few years. River flooding is strongly dependent on rainfall in the San Dieguito River watershed and on the influences of two water storage reservoirs in the area. Rainfall fluctuates on yearly and longer time scales and undergoes cycles of wet and dry periods. Over short time periods, ranging from a few months to several years, inlet status is primarily determined by the available tidal prism and littoral sand transport. Recognition of these factors is crucial in order to correctly evaluate the probability that a small lagoon will remain open naturally. A probability approach is essential because the variables controlling inlet conditions are random in nature. The results of our study show that the inlet will remain open naturally 34% of the time. The tendency to remain open is vastly smaller during years of dry weather (12%) versus times of above-average rainfall (66%).