Scientists track sand eroded by storms

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SAN DIEGO – San Diego Association of Governments has pumped more than a million cubic yards of sand onto some local beaches – just in time for winter storms to carry it away. So where’s it all go?

For Scripps Institution of Oceanographer professor Robert Guza, it’s a beautiful puzzle waiting to be solved.

San Diego BeachGuza and his team set up a shipping crate packed with equipment along Highway 101 in Cardiff.  They’re watching a couple hundred yards of new beach sand hoping winter storms take it back so they can follow it.

“Our past work suggests a surprising amount of it goes right off shore, makes a sand bar that sits there for the winter and can come back to the same beach next summer. We know that can happen, but we’re not sure how much sand will come back and under what circumstances,” Guza said.

A laser is shooting the beach seven times a second watching as the grains of sand are washed back to sea.  Offshore instruments measure sand piling up and some being carried elsewhere.  In the end, all computer moments in time will become an animated view of where the sand goes.

SANDAG will then determine whether the sand replenishment projects are worth the expense.


  • Grammy

    I sure hope these scientists are getting a good salary for this piece of scam science. The Pacific Plate is grinding away continually, not just during winter storms, although the storms may move the sand out into the ocean a little faster at times. But the sand is probably slipping on down into the La Jolla Trench, which is some 26,000 feet deep. You can keep buying sand and charging the taxpayers forever, and that sand will still wash on down into that deep trench forever.

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