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Beach Morphodynamics in Australia 1970s–2010



A seminal publication by Wright and Thom on coastal morphodynamics followed by a detailed yet expansive range of beach field experiments resulted in the publication of Wright and Short, which presented a fresh morphodynamic approach to the study of beaches. The development of the morphodynamic approach to coastal systems had its origin at Louisiana State University in the 1960–1970s, where Thom, Wright, and Short were students during this period. On their respective returns to Australia in the 1970s, they utilised the vast Australian coastal environment to apply this approach across a wide range of coastal settings and time frames developing the now universal wave-dominated beach model, followed later by tide-modified and tide-dominated beach models, as well as a fresh approach to dunes, barriers, estuaries, and the shoreface. This paper reviews the emergence of the morphodynamic approach in Australia and its subsequent impacts.