Coastal Erosion in North Carolina

by Leonard J. Lanfelder, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC,
Donald B. Stafford, (A.M.ASCE), Asst. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Clemson Univ., Clemson, SC,
Michael Amein, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC,

Serial Information: Journal of the Waterways, Harbors and Coastal Engineering Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 2, Pg. 531-545

Document Type: Journal Paper


Aerial photography and wave refraction procedures were used to study coastal erosion along the entire 330 miles of the North Carolina coast. The aerial photography method made use of measurements made at 1,400 selected stable measuring points on photographs that were taken as early as 1938. The wave refraction method made use of a computer program to obtain the refracted directions of selected incoming waves. The longshore wave energy was then converted to littoral drift through the use of an empirical equation. The results of both methods indicate the general trend in erosion. Erosion caused by major storms is a significant portion of the total erosion. This storm induced erosion is included in the results of the aerial photography method but has only a small influence on the results of the wave refraction method.

Subject Headings: Erosion | Aerial photography | Wave refraction | Littoral drift | Coastal environment | Ocean waves | Storms | Computer software | North Carolina

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