Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2005 Edition
| Editors: Maurice L. Schwartz

Drift and Swash Alignments

  • Eric Bird
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-3880-1_125
Drift alignments are found on beach-fringed coasts where the dominant waves arrive obliquely to the shore and (with accompanying currents) maintain a beach parallel to the direction of the resulting longshore drift. They are typically found on straight or saliented coasts where the obliquely arriving waves move sediment alongshore. Swash alignments develop where beaches have been shaped by waves arriving parallel to the shore, usually in curved patterns resulting from wave refraction. They are typically found in embayments where longshore drifting is limited and beach outlines run parallel to the crests of incoming waves. Figure D48 shows how an incoming south-westerly swell has produced beaches with drift alignments in Western Port Bay, Australia, and beaches with swash alignments on adjacent Phillip Island. Drift and swash alignments can be developed experimentally on beaches in a wave tank ( Davies, 1980, Figure 90): they are sometimes described as drift-dominated and...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.
    Bird, E.C.F., 1996. Lateral grading of beach sediments: a commentary. Journal of Coastal Research, 12: 774–785.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Davies, J.L., 1980. Geographical Variation in Coastal Development, 2nd edn. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Escoffier, F.F., 1954. Travelling forelands and the shoreline processes associated with them. Bulletin Beach Erosion Board, U.S., 9: 11–14.Google Scholar


  1. 1.
    Barrier IslandsGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
  3. 3.
    Bay BeachesGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cross-Shore Sediment TransportGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cuspate ForelandsGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Longshore Sediment TransportGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Bird

There are no affiliations available