ABSTRACT

The nearshore zone of County Wexford, south-east Ireland, is characterised by a series of coast-parallel north-south trending linear sandbanks with intervening channels. These sandbanks are up to 30metres in elevation, and individual banks are up to 15km long and 3km wide. They appear to be temporally persistent and were noted on medieval charts. Several theories exist regarding the processes responsible for the formation and maintenance of these sandbanks. This study documents historical patterns and rates of bathymetric and morphological change on the sandbanks at a meso-timescale (decades to centuries), identifying possible sources, sinks and transport corridors for sediment from 1840 onwards. The results indicate progressive northward extension and steepening of the landward margin of the sandbanks over a 135 year period.

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