Date of Graduation

Spring 2024


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Geography, Geology, and Planning


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Robert Pavlowsky


Anthropogenic climate change is causing sea-level rise and shoreline changes that threaten the environment and economy of coastal communities in Caribbean Island nations. To assess this risk, this study quantifies shoreline changes at Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth Parish on the south coast of Jamaica from 2001 to 2023. The effects of storm events on erosion were also assessed. Over 10 km of shoreline are assessed with about half being sandy pocket beaches ranging from 300 to 900 m in length, separated by rocky headlands and beach rock outcrops. Sand beach erosion trends since 2001 are assessed for seven sandy beaches including Great Bay, Old Wharf, Calabash Bay, Frenchman’s Bay, Billy’s Bay, Mahoe Bay and Black Bay. Seven years of satellite imagery as well as field surveys are used to evaluate beach erosion rates at annual scales. Average shoreline erosion rates ranged from 0.1 to 1.3 m/yr from 2001 to 2023. Beach widths ranged from 0 to 77 m from 2001 to 2023. Local shoreline changes from 2001 to 2023 ranged from 38 m seawards (deposition) and 51 m landward (erosion). Both sand deposition and erosion occurred during storm events. Overall, Treasure Beach lost about 38% of its beach area due to the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 which was one of the most damaging storms in the Caribbean over the past century. Beach recovery has occurred locally, and the sandy beach area increased with 6% from 2005 to 2021. However, Treasure Beach lost a total of 29% of its sandy beach area from 2001 to 2023.


sea-level rise, beach erosion rates, storm events, rock headlands, sandy pocket beaches, satellite imagery

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences | Environmental Monitoring | Environmental Sciences | Geology | Geomorphology | Other Earth Sciences | Other Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Sedimentology | Tectonics and Structure


© Elandé Engelbrecht

Open Access