Sand Drift and Growth of Sand Dunes on the Jæren Coast, Southwestern Norway

Sand Drift and Growth of Sand Dunes on the Jæren Coast, Southwestern Norway


Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Civil and Transport Engineering, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway

University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway

31 August 2014
| Citation



The Jæren coastline on the southwestern corner of Norway has some stretches of sandy beaches, although most of the Norwegian coastline is rocky and barren. This coastline faces the large waves of the North Sea and sees a storm surge level of 1.2 m above mean sea level. The beaches were formed primarily by moving ice during the glacial periods, and, following these periods, the water level in the area has been varying and was, 4000 years ago, approximately 5 m higher than it is today. Since then, the water level has steadily decreased until today’s level. Archeologists have revealed approximately 2500-year-old farm fields, which more recently have been covered by thick Aeolian sand. This sand drift has been a problem for the farmers, as the wind has blown the sand such that it has been covering the cultivated fields. In the 1880s it was decided to plant marram grass, which has been successful in stopping the sand from blowing onto the farm fields. Today the beaches of the coastline are not eroding significantly. The paper discusses the evidence of sand dune growth on the Jæren coast and the reasons why there has been no significant long-term beach erosion in the area.


Beach erosion, marram grass, Sand drift, Sand dune growth


[1] Sejrup, H.P., Iversen, M., Larsen, E., Landvik, J.Y. & Janocko, J., A stage 7 marine interglacial

record (the Grødaland interglacial) on Jæren, south western Norway; foraminiferal, stable iso-topes and amino acid evidence. Boreas, 28, pp. 326–346. Oslo, 1999.

[2] Larsen, E., Sejrup, H.P., Janocko, J., Landvik, J.Y., Stalsberg, K. & Steinsund, P.I., Recurrent interaction between the Norwegian Channel Ice Stream and terrestrial-based ice across south-west Norway. Boreas, 29, pp. 185–203. Oslo, 2000.

[3] Prøsch-Danielsen, L., Sea-level studies along the coast of southwestern Norway. With empha-sis on three short-lived Holocene marine events. AmS – Skrifter 20. Museum of Archaeology, Stavanger. National Research Centre for Paleostudies and Conservation, Stavanger, Norway, 2006.

[4] Selsing, L. & Mejdahl, V., Aeolian stratigraphy and thermoluminescence dating of sediments of late Holocene age from Sola, southwest Norway. Boreas, 23, pp. 92–104, 1994. doi: http://

[5] Løvås, S.M., Hydro-physical conditions in kelp forest and the effect on wave damping and dune erosion-a case study on Laminaria hyperborean. Dr. Ing. thesis, Department of Structural Engineering, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Norwegian University of Sci-ence and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, 2000.

[6] Knoph, Report on a survey of the Jæren area with respect to the sand drift problems and with a proposal to mitigate the sand drift problems (in Danish, written by hand in Gotish style), 1806.

[7] Lindanger, B., Klepp bygdesoge fram til 1837. Klepp kommune, 1990. (The history of the Klepp municipality up to 1837. Issued by Klepp municipality, 1990). (Klepp municipality is a municipality on Jæren), 1990.

[8] Gudmestad, K., Om bestefar Torger Edland Nærland. (About my grandfather Torger Edland Nærland). (In Gudmestad), 1924.

[9] Garborg, A., Knudahei-brev. (Letters from Knudaheio). Publisher Aschehoug: Kristiania (Oslo), 1904.

[10] Gudmestad, O.T. & Undheim Gudmestad, R., The Gudmestad Family (Gudmestad slekta. In Norwegian). Publisher Jærprent: Bryne, Norway, 1998.

[11] Hønsi, I., Storm days at Utsira, Skomvær, Ingøy and Fruholmen. Report of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. Report No. OD-89-79, 1989.

[12] Bird, E.C. & Klemsdal, T., Shore displacement and the origin of the lagoon at Brusand, south-western Norway. Norsk geografisk tidskrift. The Norwegian Journal of Geography, 40, pp. 27–35, Oslo, 1986.

[13] Sivertsen, K., Kelp harvesting as a possible cause of increased erosion of the beaches at Jæren. Report 1985:6 of the Nordland College, Bodø, Norway. (In Norwegian), 1985.

[14] Berg, B.S. & Munkejord, Aa, Do the beaches on Jæren disappear? Yearly Report from the Department of the Environment, The Governor of Rogaland County (in Norwegian), 1991.

[15] Fylkesmannen i Rogaland, Bunn- og tareskogsundersøkelse ved Revtangen – Orre elva, 2006. (In Norwegian). (Rogaland County Governor, Bottom and kelp forest investigations at Revtangen – Orre river, 2006).

[16] Dubi, A. & Tørum, A., Wave damping by kelp vegetation. Proceedings of the 24th Interna-tional Conference on Coastal Engineering, October 23–28, 1994, Kobe, Japan. ASCE, 1994.

[17] Dubi, A., Damping of water waves by submerged vegetation – a case study on Laminaria hyperborea. Dr. Ing. Thesis, Department of Structural Engineering, The Norwegian Institute of technology (NTH), University of Trondheim (now Norwegian University of Science and Technology), November 1995.

[18] Mork, M., The effect of kelp in wave damping. Sarsia, 80, pp. 323–327, Bergen, 1996a. ISSN 0036-4827.

[19] Mork, M., Wave attenuation due to bottom vegetation, Waves and Nonlinear Processes in Hydrodynamics, eds. J. Grue et al., Klüver Academic Publishers: The Netherlands, 1996b.

[20] Dubi, A. & Tørum, A., Wave energy dissipation in kelp vegetation. Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, September 1996, Orlando, Florida, USA. ASCE, 1996

[21] Løvås, S.M. & Tørum, A., Effect of submerged vegetation upon wave damping and run-up on beaches: a case study on Laminaria hyperborean. Proceedings of the 27th International Con-ference on Coastal Engineering, July 2000, Sydney, Australia. ASCE, 2000.

[22] Løvås, S.M. & Tørum, A., Effect of kelp Laminaria hyperborean upon sand and dune erosion and water particle velocities. Coastal Engineering, 44, Elsevier, 2001.

[23] Cowell, P.J., Stive, M.J.F., Roy, P.S., Kaminsky, G.M., Buijsman, M.C., Thom, B.G. & Wright, L.D., Shoreface supply to beaches. Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, July 16–21, Sidney, Australia, 2000.

[24] Tørum, A., Coastal Engineering. Lecture notes, NTNU. (In Norwegian), 1992.

[25] Tørum, A., Løset, S. & Myhra, H., Reshaping of the Sirevåg berm breakwater – comparison be-tween model and prototype. Proceedings of the International Coastal Symposium, June 2005, Høfn, Iceland, 2005.

[26] Sejrup, H.P., Landvik, J., Larsen, E., Eirikson, J., Janocko, J. & King, E., The Jæren area; a bor-der zone of the Norwegian channel ice stream. Quaternary Science Reviews, 17, pp. 801–812, 1998. doi:

[27] Sjulsen, O.E., Sedimentologisk analyser og geomorfologisk kartlegging I kystnære deler av Sola og Kleppe kommuner på Jæren. Hovedfagsoppgave i geografi, Geografisk institutt, Uni-versitetet i Oslo. (In Norwegian). (Sedimentological analysis and geomorphological mapping in near coastal areas in the communities Sola and Kleppe on Jæren. Master thesis, Department of Geography, University of Oslo, Norway), 1982.