Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jack Block Park

Three years ago I posted a photo of this beach but noted that it was fenced off (Jack Block Park: May 2008) Now it's open, providing access to the water from one of Seattle's best and most overlooked overlooks.

This is one of a couple of gravel pocket beaches built into the shoreline of this Superfund site on the southwest shore of Elliott Bay. Waves will gradually reshape them, but the northern exposure makes significant wave action infrequent and this molding will take time.

The largest waves, when they do reach this beach, will come from the north and will strike this beach at a fairly oblique angle. I suspect this will lead to the gravel shifting southwestward over time. Imagine a pebble on of this beach. There will be plenty of waves from the north nudging it southwest. But it's hard to conjure a wave from the southwest to move it back. There's a reason pocket beaches are swash-aligned. It represents a stable configuration. This one is like filling a tilted glass with water and expecting it not to spill.

I'm intrigued by the opportunity to build beaches along these industrial shorelines on the leading edge of old river deltas. In this way, this site is similar to the Olympic View site on Commencement Bay in Tacoma that I mentioned in March (Olympic View, Tacoma: March 2011).

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