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TitleThe coastal morphology and sedimentology of Labrador: a study of shoreline sensitivity to a potential oil spill
AuthorMcLaren, P
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Paper 79-28, 1980, 41 pages (2 sheets),
MapsPublication contains 2 maps
Map Info.surficial geology, costal morphology and sedimentology, 1:250,000
Map Info.location, 1:250,000
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceNewfoundland and Labrador
NTS3D; 3E; 13H; 13I; 13J; 13N; 13O; 14C; 14E; 14D; 14F; 14L
Lat/Long WENS-64.0000 -54.0000 59.0000 52.0000
Subjectssedimentology; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; beach profiles; beaches; boulder barricades; coastal environment; coastal studies; intertidal deposits; offshore currents; oil spills; tides; wave propagation; Physical Sensitivity; Shore Morphology; Tidal Currents; Winds
Released1980 08 01; 2013 11 25
AbstractThe Labrador coast may be vulnerable to the effects of an oil spill, either originating from a
well blow-out, or from a tanker disaster. During the six month, ice-free period from June to
November, 42 per cent of all winds blow in directions capable of driving oil to some or all of the
coastline. Strong, unpredictable nearshore tidal currents may sweep oil far into the bays and fiords
resulting in extensive contamination of this highly convoluted shoreline.
Effective protection and cleanup strategies must follow preestablished priorities. To provide
the physical environmental information for the Labrador coast that will be necessary for future
contingency planning, the coast was mapped from Saglek Bay to Mary's Harbour with respect to
(i) slope, (ii) rock or unconsolidated coast, (iii) type and sedimentology of the beach and (iv) nature of
the intertidal zone. Each of these geomorphic/se dimentologic criteria provides an indication of the
coastal "physical sensitivity". This term is a relative measure of the seriousness of oil pollution in a
particular environment with respect to probable dispersal of oil, residence time and cleanup
difficulties. Physical sensitivity increases when (i) slope decreases, (ii) the coast is unconsolidated,
(iii) a beach is present, (iv) the beach material is coarse rather than fine, (v) intertidal flats are
present, (vi) the width of the intertidal flat increases and (vii) a boulder barricade is present.
Empirical values allotted to each of the descriptive elements of the map legend enable each
coastal map unit to be placed in an appropriate physical sensitivity category (PSC) from 1 to 10 .. In
general, as the PSC increases, the following also increase: (i) the persistence time of hydrocarbons in
the environment and hence the need for cleanup, (ii) cleanup difficulties and (iii) the potential damage
to the environment by cleanup operations.
Because of the small population, uncharted nearshore waters and rugged topography, the coastal
area does not lend itself to easy movement of men and equipment. It is suggested that an oil spill
contingency plan be implemented in the follOWing order: (i) offshore coastal protection, (ii) onshore
protection and (iii) shoreline cleanup. The physical sensitivity maps will enable rapid determination
of the environments that warrant protection whereas, if oil does pollute the coast, the descriptive
maps will provide the basis for cleanup procedures.