Several researchers have investigated morphological changes on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast during the late Holocene. However, very few of these studies include quantitative data covering the last 200 years. In this study, topographical maps, nautical charts and aerial photographs are used to estimate the shoreline migrations and beach-nearshore sand balance over the last 200 years in Haifa Bay, Israel, the northernmost final depositional sink of the Nile littoral cell. The findings reflect two main periods. During the first period, between 1799 and 1928, human intervention along the bay's coast was negligible, a significant coastal expansion of ∼50 to 150 m (averages of 0.4-1.2 m/year) was measured, and sand accumulation was estimated at ∼70,000 m3 annually in the beach-nearshore area. A dramatic change in the sedimentological pattern was observed during the second period, between 1928 and 2006, following the completion of Haifa Port's main breakwater (1929-1933). During this period, most of the bay's coast was in a steady state, with seasonal fluctuations of less than about ±20 m, and slight erosion of ∼7,000 m3 annually. These findings are consistent with previous studies which conclude that from approximately 4,000 years ago until the construction of Haifa Port, sea level remained relatively stable, and a continuous accumulation of Nile-derived sand dried up the Zevulun Plain and shifted the Haifa Bay shoreline westwards to its present location. This long-term trend ceased after completion of the Haifa Port main breakwater.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)