Bouchette, F., Manna, M., Montalvo, P., Nutz, A., Schuster, M.,Ghienne, J.-F., 2014. Growth of cuspate spits. In: Green, A.N. and Cooper, J.A.G. (eds.), Proceedings 13th International Coastal Symposium (Durban, South Africa), Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 70 pp. 047–052, ISSN 0749-0208.
The present work concerns cuspate spits: slightly symmetrical geomorphic features growing along the shoreline in shallow waters. We develop a new formulation for the dynamics of cuspate spits. Our approach relies on classical paradigms such as a conservation law to the shoreface scale and an explicit formula for alongshore sediment transport. We derive a non-linear diffusion equation and a fully explicit solution for the growth of cuspate spits. From this general expression, we found interesting applications to quantify shoreline dynamics in the presence of cuspate spits. In particular, we point out a simple method for the datation of a cuspate spit given a limited number of input parameters. Furthermore, we develop a method to quantify the mean alongshore diffusivity along a shoreline perturbed by well-defined cuspate spits of known sizes. Finally, we introduce a formal relationship between the geometric characteristics (amplitude, length) of cuspate spits, which reproduce the self-similarity of these geomorphic features.