Birrien, F., Castelle, B., Dailloux, D., Marieu, V., Rihouey, D. and Price, T.D., 2013. Video observation of megacusp evolution along a high-energy engineered sandy beach: Anglet, SW France.
We present an 18-month period of video monitoring of both the nearshore sandbars and the megacusps at Anglet Beach, SW France. The study site covers a 2-km long stretch of beach that is constrained to the North by a groin that extends 400 m seaward. The beach is high-energy intermediate, mostly double-barred, with a steep beach face (~1/10) favouring the formation of cusps at a large range of lengthscales, from beach cusps (O(10 m)) to megacusps (O(100 m)). A megacusp is systematically observed against the groin as a result of the persistent presence of a topographic rip. Further away from the groin, about 4–5 megacusps are typically observed. The shoreline dynamics are strongly controlled by the geometry of the surfzone sandbar. In-phase shoreline-sandbar coupling was commonly observed, that is, megacusps in the alignment of the rip channels and seaward bulges in the shoreline facing the surfzone sandbar horns. Megacusps at Anglet Beach have a typical cross-shore amplitude of O(10 m). During a severe storm with significant wave heights over 7 m, a very erosive megacusp (hotspot) formed in the alignment of the rip channel. Prior to this storm, a seaward bulge in the shoreline was observed in this location. Accordingly, 40 m cross-shore variation change in shoreline position at this location was the signature of megacusp dynamics only. This hotspot was systematically observed at the same location during 7–8 months after the storm event, before the fair weather conditions in summer resulted in an overall accretion of the beach. Megacusps were smoothed out during rapid alongshore migration of the sandbar or for high-energy wave conditions. In addition, the evolution of the alongshore-averaged shoreline position shows the exact opposite trend as that of the alongshore-averaged sandbar position, yet with less pronounced cross-shore variations. Overall, our results highlight once again the strong links between shoreline and surfzone sandbar dynamics.