EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Spatial and temporal changes of sediment grain size along Israel’s Mediterranean cliff-dominated beaches

Onn Crouvi, Ran Shemesh, Oded Katz, Amit Mushkin, Navot Morag, and Nadav Lensky
Onn Crouvi et al.
  • Geological Survey of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel (

Beach morphodynamics are largely controlled by the interaction of wave climate with beach sediments. Local changes in sediment grain size, shape or density can lead to distinct morphological changes of beach systems subjected to similar energetic inputs. Whereas the spatial variation of grain size along beach profiles has been well studied, the temporal variation in beach grain size has received less attention. Moreover, the fate of cliff-eroded sediments along sandy coasts, with limited tidal effect, was rarely studied as most studies focused on shingle beaches (rocky/pebble rich) especially in coastal environments where tide plays an important role.

Here we use grain size data to explore the temporal dynamics of beach sediments in cliff-dominated beaches along Israel’s Mediterranean coast and their relationship to cliff erosion as well as sand abrasion/attrition. Our approach is based on repetitive seasonal-scale sampling of surficial sediments along cross shore transects over 3 years. We found that most samples exhibit unimodal particle size distribution (PSD), with a mode either at the fine sand fraction (180-220 µm) composed of quartz, or at the coarse sand to very coarse sand fraction (900-1,200 µm), composed of eolianite rock chips. The coarse fraction dominants the PSD mostly during winter times, whereas at summer times it is usually absent. In addition, this coarse fraction decreases with time that passed since waves reached the cliff base during sea storms. Our results suggest that: 1) The addition of the coarse fraction during winter is related to high-energy wave storms that mobilize and transport cliff-derived materials (taluses) along the beach, and 2) The disappearance of the coarse fraction towards summer is related to sand abrasion by wave and/or by wind action, i.e. breakage of the ~1 mm eolianite rock chips into ~200 µm quartz grains. Our findings emphasize the importance of cliff erosion and sand abrasion in controlling the temporal variation in PSD along cliff-dominated beaches.

How to cite: Crouvi, O., Shemesh, R., Katz, O., Mushkin, A., Morag, N., and Lensky, N.: Spatial and temporal changes of sediment grain size along Israel’s Mediterranean cliff-dominated beaches, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-8252,, 2020


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