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Characteristics of sea-cliff erosion induced by a strong winter storm in the eastern Mediterranean

  • Oded Katz and Amit Mushkin


Changes in sea-cliff morphologies along the 30-km-long Sharon Escarpment segment of Israel's weakly cemented Mediterranean eolianite cliff line were analyzed to gain quantitative insights into erosion characteristics associated with a high-energy winter storm (10–20 year return interval). Ground-based repeat LiDAR measurements at five sites along the cliff line captured perturbations of cliff stability by basal wave scouring during the storm, subsequent post-storm gravity-driven slope failures in the cliff face above, and return of the system to transient stability within several months. Post-storm erosion, which amounted to 70% of the total volume of cliff erosion documented, resulted in dramatic local effects of up to 8 m of cliff-top retreat. And yet, at the larger scale of the 30-km cliff line examined, erosion during the storm and the year that followed affected less than 4% of the cliff length and does not appear to be above the average cliff-length annual erosion implied by previously published decadal-scale retreat rates along this sea cliff. Our results do not support a direct association between strong storm events and elevated erosion and retreat at the cliff-line scale.


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*Corresponding author. E-mail address: (A. Mushkin).


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