CR 18:147-156 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/cr018147

A review of relative sea level rise caused by mining-induced subsidence in the coastal zone: some implications for increased coastal recession

Lynne Humphries*

School of Computing, Engineering and Technology, University of Sunderland, The Informatics Centre, St. PeterĀ¹s Campus, Sunderland SR6 0DD, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT: This paper addresses how mining activity under coastal zones impacts on the surface and whether any consequent changes to beach and offshore morphology affect the shoreline dynamics on the beach. The extent of mining activity under coasts is reviewed, with a focus on the interaction of changes in land level, induced by coal extraction at depth under coasts, with sediment and wave processes. The hypothesis is proposed that surface changes, such as a change in substrate gradient, influence the response of beaches to shoreline dynamics. The literature relating to the main parameters governing beach response on macro-tidal coastlines is reviewed, then evidence from reported literature is collated as an example of changes in morphology in a case study on a macro-tidal coastline in NE England. Results from this case study suggest that land subsidence due to mining activities can have a local impact on coastal areas exceeding that of projected sea level rise due to climate changes. Permanent changes in beach gradient cause an altered response to wave dynamics, and a consequent change in the classification of these beaches compared to control beaches, where no subsidence has taken place.

KEY WORDS: Relative sea level rise · Land subsidence · Breaking wave height · Beach classification

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