Rapid beachrock cementation on a South African beach: Linking morphodynamics and cement style

Errol Wiles, Andrew N. Green, Andrew Cooper

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Rapid cementation (b5 years) of beachrock is reported fromthewave-dominated, microtidal coastline ofDurban,
South Africa. The beachrock is developing at mean sea level on a steep (10°–30°), reflective beach prone to
periodic erosion by high-energy wave action; the most recent erosional event resulted in retrogradation of the
beach by up to 10 m landward of the beachrock outcrop discussed in this study. Transmitted light microscopy
and scanning electron micrographs show the precipitation of two dominant cement types which are linked to
the beachface morphodynamics. During the accreted beach phase, when the locus of beachrock formation lay
well landward of the beachface in the undersaturated upper intertidal to supra tidal backbeach, meniscus
cements were precipitated. Following a period of erosion, associated with a landward shift of the beachface,
the incipient beachrock was then exposed to saturated conditions which promoted growth of acicular cements.
Contemporary beachrock cementation occurred very rapidly (b5 years) between significant erosional events. The
observed cement textures record short-term beach progradation and retrogradation but are similar to those
typically associated with longer-term regression and transgression
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13
Number of pages18
JournalSedimentary Geology
Early online date23 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Dec 2018


  • Beachrock
  • Beachrock cement
  • Sea-level indicator
  • Beach morphodynamics
  • Rapid cementation


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