Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2005 Edition
| Editors: Maurice L. Schwartz

Depth of Closure on Sandy Coasts

  • Andrew Morang
  • William A. Birkemeier
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-3880-1_116

Kraus et al. (1999, p. 272) proposed the following definition of the depth of closure (DoC):

The depth of closure for a given or characteristic time interval is the most landward depth seaward of which there is no significant change in bottom elevation and no significant net sediment exchange between the nearshore and the offshore.

Figure D13illustrates the concept by showing the change in the nearshore profile resulting from a single storm. In this case, the DoC is 6.45 m as there is little change in the bottom deeper than this. Thus, the DoC separates the active nearshore from a less-active offshore and therefore is an important parameter in many coastal engineering projects. For example, in order to build out the entire beach profile, nourishment quantities are often computed by multiplying the desired added beach width by the DoC. In another application, numerical models of beach change use the DoC as an offshore limit to their computations. Because of its importance, the DoC is...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.
    Birkemeier, W.A., 1985. Field data on seaward limit of profile change. Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering, 111(3):598–602.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Grosskopf, W.G., and Kraus, N.C., 1994. Guidelines for surveying beach nourishment projects. Shore and Beach, 62(2): 9–16.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hallermeier, R.J., 1977. Calculating a yearly limit depth to the active beach profile. Vicksburg: U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Coastal Engineering Research Center. Technical Paper TP 77-9.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hallermeier R.J., 1978. Uses for a calculated limit depth to beach erosion. Proceedings of the Sixteenth Coastal Engineering Conference. American Society of Civil Engineers, New York: A-S-O-C-E, Ch. 88, pp. 1493–1512.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hallermeier, R.J., 1981a. A profile zonation for seasonal sand beaches from wave climate. Coastal Engineering, 4: 253–277.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hallermeier, R.J., 1981b. Terminal settling velocity of commonly occurring sand grains. Sedimentology, 28: 859–865.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hallermeier, R.J., 1981c. Seaward limit of significant sand transport by waves: an annual zonation for seasonal profiles. Vicksburg: U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Coastal Engineering Research Center. Coastal Engineering Technical Aide CETA 81-2.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hands, E.B., 1983. The Great Lakes as a test model for profile response to sea level changes. In Komar, P. D. (ed.), Handbook of Coastal Processes and Erosion,, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, pp. 167–189. (Also reprinted as Miscellaneous Paper CERC-84-14. Vicksburg: U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Coastal Engineering Research Center.)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kraus, N.C., and Harikai, S., 1983. Numerical model of the shoreline change at Oarai Beach. Coastal Engineering, 7: 1–28.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kraus, N.C., Larson, M., and Wise, R. 1999. Depth of closure in beach-fill design. Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Beach Preservation Technology. Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association, pp. 271–286.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Morang, A., Rahoy, D.S., and Grosskopf, W.M., 1999. Regional geologic characteristics along the south shore of Long Island, New York. Proceedings of Coastal Sediments’ 99. American Society of Civil Engineers, pp. 1568–1583.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Nicholls, R.J., Birkemeier, W.A., and Lee, Guan-hong, 1998. Evaluation of depth of closure using data from Duck, NC, USA. Marine Geology, 148: 179–201.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Stauble, D.K., Garcia, A.W., Kraus, N.C., Grosskopf, W.G., and Bass, G.P., 1993. Beach nourishment project response and design evaluation, Ocean City, Maryland. Vicksburg: U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station. Technical Report CERC-93-13.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Stive, M.J.F., DeVriend, H.J., Nicholls, R.J., and Capobianco, M., 1992. Shore nourishment and the active zone; a timescale dependent view. Proceedings of the 23rd Coastal Engineering Conference. American Society of Civil Engineers, New York, pp. 2464–2473.Google Scholar


  1. 1.
    Cross-Shore Sediment TransportGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cross-Shore Variation of Grain Size on BeachesGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dynamic Equilibrium of BeachesGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
  5. 5.
    Net TransportGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Numerical ModelingGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Morang
  • William A. Birkemeier

There are no affiliations available