Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology



First Advisor

John Fisher


Repeated foreshore sediment sampling and beach profiling were conducted at four month intervals beginning in October 1976 and continuing through August 1977, along the south shore of Rhode Island. The Rhode Island south shore consists of eight headlands and inter-connecting barrier beaches. 113 stations, previously established by Regan (1976) along the south shore from Napatree Point to Point Judith were used as sampling and profiling locales. Stations were spaced at approximately 300 meter intervals along the shoreline. 30 stations were sampled in October 1976, 31 in March 1977, and 94 in August 1977.

Sediment samples were sieved to determine the graphic equivalent (Folk, 1974) of the first four moment measures and gravel content. Beach profiles were taken to determine foreshore width. Foreshore slope was measured in the field. The resulting variables were analyzed to determine their interrelationship and to ascertain their ability in discriminating headland areas from barrier beach areas.

Partial correlation was employed to determine the effects of a designated control variable upon the relationships among the remaining variables. Partial correlation indicates that variations in foreshore slop and foreshore width exert the greatest amount of influence upon the other variables.

Factor analysis confirms the results obtained by partial correlation, that foreshore slope and foreshore width are the parameters that exert the greatest amount of influence along the south shore of R.I. In addition, factor analysis reveals the more subtle influences of sorting.

The shoreline was divided into two groups, headland areas versus barrier beach areas. Discriminant analysis indicates that there is a significant difference between the interrelationships among variables measured in the headland areas and those measured in the barrier beach areas. These differences can be used to differentiate between headland areas and barrier beach areas.

During the study period, a seasonal pattern of available changes emerged along the western and eastern sections of the shoreline. The central portion of the shoreline does not follow this trend.



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