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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 July 2017

Robert P. Bourman
Affiliation:
University of Wollongong
Colin V. Murray-Wallace
Affiliation:
University of Wollongong
Nick Harvey
Affiliation:
University of Adelaide
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Summary

People have natural affinities with the sea and coastlines, using them for work, recreation and aesthetic enjoyment. Interest in coastal areas has increased with growing awareness of environmental sustainability, issues such as natural coastal vulnerability and potential climatic changes, as well as the development of a greater appreciation of impacts on coasts due to urban and industrial development.

In order to make a contribution towards an understanding of the evolution of the South Australian coast and its current changes, and thereby contribute towards its better management, the authors are sharing their coastal knowledge and research. Collectively the contributors, who have been friends and academic collaborators over several decades, have accumulated a vast amount of experience related to the evolution of coastal features of South Australia. From this unique position they have synthesised this information in a manner to make it accessible to students, planners and the general public.

Geologically, the South Australian coast is very young, having evolved only over 1% of geological time, during the past 43 million years since the separation of Australia and Antarctica. It is also very dynamic, with the current shoreline position having been established from only 7000 years ago. There is a remarkable diversity of coastal landscapes in South Australia, ranging through rocky cliffed coasts, submarine canyons, high wave energy sandy beaches and estuarine environments to tidally dominated coasts with sandflats and mangrove woodlands. This diversity of coastal landforms has resulted from the interaction of tides, winds and wave-generated processes operating on a range of rock types impacted by relative movements of the land and sea. Highlighting past changes at the coastline such as erosion, siltation, land movements and fluctuations in sea level provides a sound basis for understanding future changes and instigating appropriate planning strategies. Some features of the South Australian coast have national and global research significance for understanding sea level changes, coastal evolution and management by providing present analogues of past landforms.

The main aim of this book is educational. By explaining the variable character of the coast and its long-term evolution, it is hoped that this book will provide people with background information and awaken curiosity about the coast, enabling them to understand and interpret coastal landscapes, or ‘to read the coastal landscape’.

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Publisher: The University of Adelaide Press
Print publication year: 2016

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