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The Impact of Typhoon Pamela (1976) on Guam's Coral Reefs and Beaches

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Title:The Impact of Typhoon Pamela (1976) on Guam's Coral Reefs and Beaches
Authors:Ogg, James G.
Koslow, J Anthony
Date Issued:Apr 1978
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Ogg JG, Koslow JA. 1978. The impact of Typhoon Pamela (1976) on Guam's coral reefs and beaches. Pac Sci 32(2): 105-118.
Abstract:Located on a main typhoon corridor, Guam receives approximately
one tropical cyclone per year. Typhoon Pamela, Guam's third most
intense typhoon of this century, generated 8-meter waves, but these had little
direct effect on Guam's coral reefs, even on the exposed northern and eastern
sides of the island. Damage to the reefs was isolated and in the form of breakage
due to extraneous material being worked over the reef by the surf and surge.
These findings are contrasted with reports of typhoon-induced, large-scale
reef destruction, mostly from areas off the major storm tracks. Guam's reef
formations have developed in a way that enables them to withstand intense
wave assault.
Pamela caused significant modification of Guam's northern and eastern
beaches, however. Most vegetation was removed to an elevation of 3 to 4
meters above mean lower low water, and the beach profiles were reduced from
pretyphoon 8°-5° slopes to 3°-5° slopes through the transport of sand seaward.
The first stage of recovery is the retreat and steepening of the lower beach.
Longshore transport of sand during the typhoon yielded net erosion or deposition
of up to 25 m3 per meter of beach face. The maximum height of the
wave surges along the coast was linearly related to the width of reef flat and
beach traversed. A 1-meter drop in maximum surge height per 115 meters of
distance traversed with an initial potential head of 9 meters is indicated.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 32, Number 2, 1978

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