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Holocene spit development on a regressive shoreline, Dornoch Firth, Scotland

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The series of raised and modern spits and beaches which characterise the Dornoch Firth coastline are described. The beaches and spits in the inner firth are relatively small, having developed during the mid-Holocene with little-subsequent modification. In the central firth, large spit complexes developed on the northern and southern shorelines extending westwards during the mid-Holocene. However, during the later Holocene, spit growth was towards the east on the southern shore and towards the southwest on the northern shore. In the outer firth, spit and beach development mainly occurred during the later Holocene. The development of spits at the mouth of the firth changed the wave energy environment in the central section and resulted in the marked changes in spit alignment in this area. The features also indicate that during the rise and culmination of the Main Postglacial Transgression coarse clastic sediments derived from cliff erosion dominated. In contrast during the later Holocene, when relative sea level fell, sand-sized material derived from the nearshore and offshore zone predominated.

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