Progress in Physical Geography
Roberto Agredano Martín, César Esparza Acuña, Iván Torres y Manuel Contreras-López.
coast, coastal erosion, climate change, beach, coastal evolution
Coastal erosion in 45 sandy beaches covering nearly 2000 km along the tectonically active Chilean coast is assessed during the last four decades. The historical analysis is based on the assessment of decadal changes of the shoreline position extracted from topographic surveys, aerial photographs, satellite images and survey maps using the DSAS software. Results show that 80% of the sites presented erosion rates (>−0.2 m/y), 7% beaches accreted (>0.2 m/y) while 13% remained stable. Eroded beaches include headland bay beaches, embayed and pocket beaches. A discussion on the possible causes explaining these results is conducted. While changes in offshore wave climate are spatially smooth within the region, relative mean sea level changes are highly variable and modulated by tectonic activity; the reduction of the sediment supply explains erosion rates in few cases.