• Login
  • Register
  • Search

The different erosion fate of the headland-embayed beaches on the muddy and sandy coasts of China

Abiola John Osanyintuyi, Yong-Hong Wang, Yiheng Huang, Saddam Aliyu, Nor Aieni Haji Mokhtar


China’s beaches exhibit different geomorphic characteristics depending on location. Due to increasing contemporary climate change, induced storm activities and human activities, beaches along the Chinese coast have been exposed to the risk of erosion. This article examines the different shoreline evolution processes from 1973 to 2021 as well as the erosion vulnerability of 9 headland-embayed beaches (of which 5 beaches, each at Baishawan, Dasha, Dongdan, Nanshajiao, and Mushao are on the muddy coast in Southern China and 4 beaches, namely, Bathing Beach 1, 2, 3 and Shilaoren Beach are on the sandy coast in Northern China) based on the inherent geomorphic characteristics and nearshore hydroclimatic factors of the beaches. In the analysis, there were 3 stages. During the first stage, erosion dominated both the muddy and sandy coasts as a result of intense storm conditions. During the second stage, the beaches had earlier recovered as a function of natural processes, however, storm activities later eroded the beaches. During the third stage, most of the beaches accreted as a result of coastal engineering interventions and beach nourishment project. The shoreline analysis results indicate that beaches on the muddy and sandy coasts have been eroding in the long term. During the first erosion stage, erosion is more severe on the muddy coast than on the sandy coast in the short term. On the sandy coast, the beaches recorded severe erosion from 1973 to 1998. Of the 9 beaches, the most eroded location was at Dasha on the muddy coast (LRR: –5.315 m/y; EPR: –5.671 m/y; NSM: –141.94 m) between 1974 and 1998. In summary, beaches on muddy coasts are more vulnerable to erosion than those on sandy coasts. On the muddy coast, there has been a shortage in the supply of sediment from the Yangtze River-derived sediment to the coast. The primary source of sand material for the studied beaches on the muddy coast has been the regular storm condition that changes the sand-mud transition line on the coast. For the sandy beaches, the primary factor responsible for the vulnerability and beach modification includes a shortage in the natural supply of beach material and storm activities, however, recent beach nourishment and coastal protection procedures are gradually stabilizing the beaches. Ultimately, the outcome of this research is suitable for beach management procedures on the Chinese coast.


China coast; storm surge erosion; Zhejiang sandy beach; Qingdao shoreline; sand mud transition

Full Text:


Included Database


Cai F, Cao C, Qi H, et al. Rapid migration of mainland China’s coastal erosion vulnerability due to anthropogenic changes. Journal of Environmental Management 2022; 319: 115632. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115632

Xu G, Liu J, Liu S, et al. Modern muddy deposit along the Zhejiang coast in the East China Sea: Response to large-scale human projects. Continental Shelf Research 2016; 130: 68–78. doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2016.10.007

Bellido C, Anfuso G, Plomaritis TA, Rangel-Buitrago N. Morphodynamic behaviour, disturbance depth and longshore transport at Camposoto Beach (Cadiz, SW Spain). Journal of Coastal Research 2011; 35–39.

Dodet G, Castelle B, Masselink G, et al. Beach recovery from extreme storm activity during the 2013–14 winter along the Atlantic coast of Europe. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 2019; 44(1): 393–401. doi: 10.1002/esp.4500

Ma Y, Wu Y, Shao Z, et al. Impacts of sea level rise and typhoon intensity on storm surges and waves around the coastal area of Qingdao. Ocean Engineering 2022; 249: 110953. doi: 10.1016/j.oceaneng.2022.110953

Chen Z, Huang P, Huang H, et al. Characteristics of modern sedimentation in Qingdao bays. Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology 2009; 27: 683–696. doi: 10.1007/s00343-009-9124-0

Liang J, Liu J, Xu G, Chen B. Grain-size characteristics and net transport patterns of surficial sediments in the Zhejiang nearshore area, East China Sea. Oceanologia 2020; 62(1): 12–22. doi: 10.1016/j.oceano.2019.06.002

Osanyintuyi AJ, Wang YH, Mokhtar NAH. Nearly five decades of changing shoreline mobility along the densely developed Lagos barrier-lagoon coast of Nigeria: A remote sensing approach. Journal of African Earth Sciences 2022; 194: 104628. doi: 10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2022.104628

Warnasuriya TWS, Kumara MP, Gunasekara SS, et al. An improved method to detect shoreline changes in small-scale beaches using google earth pro. Marine Geodesy 2020; 43(6): 541–572. doi: 10.1080/01490419.2020.1822478

Cai F, Su X, Liu J, et al. Coastal erosion in China under the condition of global climate change and measures for its prevention. Progress in Natural Science 2009; 19(4): 415–426. doi: 10.1016/j.pnsc.2008.05.034

Qiao G, Mi H, Wang W, et al. 55-year (1960–2015) spatiotemporal shoreline change analysis using historical DISP and Landsat time series data in Shanghai. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 2018; 68: 238–251. doi: 10.1016/j.jag.2018.02.009

Yin P, Duan X, Gao F, et al. Coastal erosion in Shandong of China: Status and protection challenges. China Geology 2018; 1(4): 512–521. doi: 10.31035/cg2018073

Kirby R. Chapter four: Distinguishing accretion from erosion-dominated muddy coasts. In: Healy T, Wang Y, Healy JA (editors). Muddy Coasts of the World: Processes, Deposits and Function (Proceedings in Marine Science). Elsevier Science; 2002; Volume 4. pp. 61–81. doi: 10.1016/S1568-2692(02)80078-X

Jia J, Zhang X, Zhou R, et al. Sources of sediment in tidal flats off Zhejiang coast, southeast China. Journal of Oceanology and Limnology 2021; 39: 1245–1255. doi: 10.1007/S00343-020-0179-2

Gardel A, Anthony EJ, Dos Santos VF, et al. Fluvial sand, Amazon mud, and sediment accommodation in the tropical Maroni River estuary: Controls on the transition from estuary to delta and chenier plain. Regional Studies in Marine Science 2021; 41: 101548. doi: 10.1016/j.rsma.2020.101548

Anthony EJ, Gardel A, Dolique F, et al. Mud banks, sand flux and beach morphodynamics: Montjoly Lagoon Beach, French Guiana. In: Maanan M, Robin M (editors). Sediment Fluxes in Coastal Areas. Springer, Dordrecht; 2015. pp. 75–90. doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-9260-8_4

Dolique F, Anthony EJ. Short-term profile changes of sandy pocket beaches affected by Amazon-derived mud, Cayenne, French Guiana. Journal of Coastal Research 2005; 21(6(216)): 1195–1202. doi: 10.2112/04-0297.1

Guo J, Shi L, Chen S, et al. Sand-mud transition dynamics at embayed beaches during a typhoon season in eastern China. Marine Geology 2021; 441: 106633. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2021.106633

King EV, Conley DC, Masselink G, et al. Wave, tide and topographical controls on headland sand bypassing. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 2021; 126(8): e2020JC017053. doi: 10.1029/2020JC017053

Schiaffino CF, Brignone M, Ferrari M. Application of the parabolic bay shape equation to sand and gravel beaches on Mediterranean coasts. Coastal Engineering 2012; 59(1): 57–63. doi: 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2011.07.007

Robinet A, Castelle B, Idier D, et al. Controls of local geology and cross-shore/longshore processes on embayed beach shoreline variability. Marine Geology 2020; 422: 106118. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2020.106118

Do K, Yoo J. Morphological response to storms in an embayed beach having limited sediment thickness. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 2020; 234: 106636. doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2020.106636

Fellowes TE, Vila-Concejo A, Gallop SL, et al. Wave shadow zones as a primary control of storm erosion and recovery on embayed beaches. Geomorphology 2022; 399: 108072. doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2021.108072

da Silveira YG, Bonetti J. Assessment of the physical vulnerability to erosion and flooding in a sheltered coastal sector: Florianópolis Bay, Brazil. Journal of Coastal Conservation 2019; 23: 303–314. doi: 10.1007/s11852-018-0659-0

de Andrade TS, de Oliveira Sousa PHG, Siegle E. Vulnerability to beach erosion based on a coastal processes approach. Applied Geography 2019; 102: 12–19. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2018.11.003

Ding D, Yang J, Li G, et al. A geomorphological response of beaches to Typhoon Meari in the eastern Shandong Peninsula in China. Acta Oceanologica Sinica 2015; 34: 126–135. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0644-5

Irham M, Rusydi I, Haridhi HA, et al. Coastal vulnerability of the west coast of aceh besar: A coastal morphology assessment. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 2021; 9(8): 815. doi: 10.3390/jmse9080815

Rehman S, Jahangir S, Azhoni A. GIS based coastal vulnerability assessment and adaptation barriers to coastal regulations in Dakshina Kannada district, India. Regional Studies in Marine Science 2022; 55: 102509. doi: 10.1016/j.rsma.2022.102509

Wang N, Hou Y, Mo D, Li J. Hazard assessment of storm surges and concomitant waves in Shandong Peninsula based on long-term numerical simulations. Ocean & Coastal Management 2021; 213: 105888. doi: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2021.105888

Fan D, Li C, Wang P. Influences of storm erosion and deposition on rhythmites of the Upper Wenchang Formation (Upper Ordovician) around Tonglu, Zhejiang Province, China. Journal of Sedimentary Research 2004; 74(4): 527–536. doi: 10.1306/010304740527

Wang Y, Zhu D, Wu X. Chapter thirteen: Tidal flats and associated muddy coast of China. In: Healy T, Wang Y, Healy JA (editors). Muddy Coasts of the World: Processes, Deposits and Function (Proceedings in Marine Science). Elsevier Science; 2002; Volume 4. pp. 319–345. doi: 10.1016/S1568-2692(02)80087-0

Zhou Y, Ye Q, Shi W, et al. Wave characteristics in the nearshore waters of Sanmen bay. Applied Ocean Research 2020; 101: 102236. doi: 10.1016/j.apor.2020.102236

GloVis. Available online: http://glovis.usgs.gov/.

Zhou Y, Wang F, Zhang J, et al. Investigation of waves in Sanmen Bay during typhoons and their influence on moored vessels. Ocean Dynamics 2022; 72: 443–454. doi: 10.1007/s10236-022-01513-z

Alexandrakis G, Poulos SE. An holistic approach to beach erosion vulnerability assessment. Scientific Reports 2014; 4: 6078. doi: 10.1038/srep06078

Vandarakis D, Panagiotopoulos IP, Loukaidi V, et al. Assessment of the coastal vulnerability to the ongoing sea level rise for the exquisite Rhodes Island (SE Aegean Sea, Greece). Water 2021; 13(16): 2169. doi: 10.3390/w13162169

Ministry of Natural Resources of People’s Republic China. 2021 China sea level bulletin (Chinese version). Available online: http://gi.mnr.gov.cn/202205/t20220507_2735509.html (accessed on 6 November 2022).

Fang Y, Yin J, Wu B. Flooding risk assessment of coastal tourist attractions affected by sea level rise and storm surge: A case study in Zhejiang Province, China. Natural Hazards 2016; 84: 611–624. doi: 10.1007/s11069-016-2444-4

Ministry of Natural Resources of People’s Republic China. China marine disaster bulletin (Chinese version). Available online: https://www.mnr.gov.cn/sj/sjfw/hy/gbgg/zghyzhgb/index.html (accessed on 9 November 2022).

Dong S, Gan B, Hao X. Selection of environmental conditions for nearshore structure design. Journal of Ocean University of China 2004; 3: 111–114. doi: 10.1007/s11802-004-0019-6

Wang L, Chen B, Zhang J, Chen Z. A new model for calculating the design wave height in typhoon-affected sea areas. Natural Hazards 2013; 67: 129–143. doi: 10.1007/s11069-012-0266-6

Wang S, Ge J, Kilbourne KH, Wang Z. Numerical simulation of mid-Holocene tidal regime and storm-tide inundation in the south Yangtze coastal plain, East China. Marine Geology 2020; 423: 106134. doi: 0.1016/j.margeo.2020.106134

Feng J, Jiang W, Bian C. Numerieal prediction of storm surge in the Qingdao area under the impact of climate change. Journal of Ocean University of China 2014; 13: 539–551. doi: 10.1007/s11802-014-2222-4

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18686/me.v12i1.9503