Measurements of morphodynamic and hydrodynamic overwash processes in a large-scale wave flume

Ana Matias, Gerd Masselink, Bruno Castelle, Chris E. Blenkinsopp, Aart Kroon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (SciVal)


Overwash is an important process that controls short-term barrier dynamics, as well as long-term barrier migration, but this process is difficult to study in the field due to its rare occurrence and the challenging conditions under which it occurs. This paper uses data collected during the BARDEX II experiment in the Delta Flume, the Netherlands, where a proto-type barrier was subjected to a range of wave and water level conditions. The objectives of this research are to: (1) compare the morphologic response to overwash on a gravel barrier (BARDEX 2008 experiment) with that on a sandy barrier (BARDEX II); (2) understand the influence of wave period on overwash characteristics and sediment transport; and (3) improve current knowledge of overwash hydrodynamics. The comparative analysis shows that barrier overwash can be affected by negative feedback that stabilises the barrier through barrier crest accretion on gravel barriers, and by submerged bar development on sandy barriers. An increase in the wave period induced a reduction in overwash frequency over the crest, but no significant relation was found between wave peak period and overwash discharge. Nevertheless, overall water discharge during an overwash episode significantly correlates with overall overwash sediment transport rate. Overwash flow depths during the experiment were relatively shallow and velocities were similar compared to those measured during previous studies and reported in the literature. Despite the controlled laboratory conditions, collection of reliable and accurate measurements of overwash velocities remains challenging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-46
JournalCoastal Engineering
Early online date14 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • Barrier island
  • Coastal hazard
  • Overwash
  • Storm


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