Cabo Falso is located on the southern coast of the Baja California peninsula. The beach is broad and wide with a steep face and tall foredunes on the backshore. Landwards, an active, predominantly parabolic dune field has developed with average heights of 30 m. Part of the field is used by recreational all-terrain vehicles. The main goal of this study was to identify the principal morphodynamic characteristics of the deposits influenced by these recreational activities and affected by Hurricane Juliette in 2001. The morphology of the study area was monitored using seasonal topographic profiles, examination of aerial photographs from 1972 and 1993, and on-site photographs (November 1999 to April 2002). The topographic profiles indicated that the erosion period for both the beach and the dunes was June to December. Hurricane Juliette was the responsible for most of the observed erosion. The greatest sediment accumulation occurred between December 2001 and February 2002, associated with the onset of the natural recovery process of the beach–dune system. The photographs revealed that the dunes have lost vegetation cover because of the activities of all-terrain vehicles, which erode paths perpendicular to the dune crests. This in turn allows increased sediment movement, resulting in instability of the dune field system.
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Vol. 2008 • No. 243