Coastal Erosion Analysis of the Belle Fontaine Area, Jackson County, Mississippi

by Joseph N. Suhayda, Louisiana State Univ, Baton Rouge, United States,
Stephen M. Oivanki, Louisiana State Univ, Baton Rouge, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


The Belle Fontaine area contains the only remaining natural beach on the mainland Mississippi shoreline. The fine to medium-grained sand beach is the result of erosion and retreat of the Pleistocene bluffs in the central portion of the area. Distribution and movement of the sand is determined by the prevailing wind speed and direction and the resulting wave energy. Analysis of shallow vibracores and seismic profiles was used to reconstruct the geologic history of the area. Historical erosion rates were determined by comparing digitized USGS T-sheets from the 1850s through the 1950s, as well as 1986 aerial photos. A coastal engineering analysis encompassed three main tasks: wave climate data acquisition, data analysis and assimilation into a coastal processes simulation model, and an evaluation of shoreline erosion control measures for the area. Wave and tide level data were collected over a three month period and the data were used to calibrate a geological processes simulation model. Beach profiles and grain-size analysis of beach and nearshore sediments as well as updated NOAA bathymetric charts were incorporated into the model. Using a 500 m sample grid the model is used to forecast coastal processes during passage of cold fronts through the area and to evaluate shoreline protection designs for low energy environments.

Subject Headings: Erosion | Coastal processes | Simulation models | Ocean waves | Wave climates | Sand (hydraulic) | Beach profiles | Mississippi | United States

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