Sunday, July 17, 2016


The spit at Maxwelton continues to grow northward, but local rumors (and recent Google photos) suggest the south end is beginning to erode. 


The Maxwelton community is built on an earlier spit and the marshy lagoon that lay between it and the bluff. But in the early 2000s, a new spit began to emerge offshore near the south end and then gradually extended itself along the shore. The tip passed the Mackie Park boat ramp around 2007 and has kept going. It's preceded by a zone of erosion, presumably because the growth of the spit starves the downdrift beach (erosion is also related to the migration of the mouth of the inlet, which tends to be pressed close to shore, as well as to changes in wave patterns around the end of the spit).

Here are some earlier posts from Maxwelton. Although I've visited this site many times, apparently I haven't posted anything since 2010!

March 2007
April 2009
March 2010

In the last couple of years, the spit has slowly stretched northward and this past winter it raised concerns for some property owners near it's advancing tip.

Of course, the interesting question is what happens next. Will the spit continue to extend, shifting problems still farther north? The T-Sheet from the 1870s shows an extremely long, narrow spit extending another mile north, well past the old mouth of the Maxwelton estuary (now in a tide gate). Or, will the updrift (southern) end erode until waves breach the lagoon, creating a new inlet and perhaps leading to closure of the current north inlet. Which might in turn lead to major changes in the spit itself.

This winter, some very high tides filled the lagoon in front of the park with logs. They're probably not going anywhere as long as the spit itself remains.

No comments: