Friday, November 24, 2017

Sandy Point Beach

Sandy Point Beach -- not a terribly creative name for a beach. And a bit of a generalization, too. At least on this visit, it could just as well have been called gravel beach with sandy backshore, but then it sort of depended on where along the beach I was.

This low point of land is on the western shore of the Sakonnet River estuary, a few miles northeast of Newport. I think my interpretations are limited by lack of familiarity with both the site and the larger setting and are also unduly influenced by my experience on Puget Sound, but it appears that the point is strongly shaped by south waves and longshore transport to the north. Although northerly storms and waves must also play a role.


The southern limb is fairly coarse, but the gravel foreshore gives way to sand on the north side. This suggests that either the transport of gravel from the south sort of runs out of oomph as it wraps around the corner, or that the sheltered north side simply accumulates sufficient sand to bury any gravel that is present.

Sandy Point appears to be a drift-aligned beach. There's also another small point similar to this one just a mile and a half north. In contrast, there's a nice example of a swash-aligned beach just east across the bay at Fogland Beach (see aerial). 

There were many interesting details - small dunes on the north side where sand was more abundant, a rock groin at the tip of the point, a small section of low-tide cobble platform exposed at the south end, and recent evidence of erosion of the gravel berm (also on the south end). There was a distinct storm berm on the upper beach on the north side (but not at a very high tide), with small swash deposits of shells (say small shell swash three times quickly), that I suspect are the result of the previous week's big storm (October 29th - my visit was on November 5th).

No comments: