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Erosional history of Cape Halkett and contemporary monitoring of bluff retreat, Beaufort Sea coast, Alaska

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Cape Halkett is located along the Beaufort Sea at the end of a low-lying tundra landscape. The area has been subject to major modifications over the last century as a result of erosion and migration of the coastline inland. Long-term mean annual erosion rates (1955-2009) for the entire cape are 7.6 m/yr, with a gradual increase in rates over the first five time periods of remotely sensed imagery analyzed and a large increase during the most recent time period. Division of the cape into three distinct coastal zones shows very different erosional patterns: the northeast-facing segment (Zone 1) showing a consistent and large increase; the southeast-facing segment (Zone 3) showing a gradual increase with recent, heightened erosion rates; and the east-facing segment (Zone 2) showing decreased rates due to the reformation of a sand and gravel spit. Monitoring of bluff erosion with time-lapse photography, differential GPS surveys, terrestrial and bathymetric surveys, and water level, sea and permafrost temperature data provide insights into the processes driving contemporary patterns of erosion and will provide valuable information for the prediction of future shoreline positions.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Alaska Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK, USA,Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA 2: Alaska Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK, USA 3: Department of Geography, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA 4: Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA 5: Webstar's Flying Service, Fairbanks, AK, USA 6: U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Surface Processes Team, Denver, CO, USA

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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