Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Rolland Fraser

Second Advisor

Dr. David Lemberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Regis

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Monitoring coastal change is an important undertaking because a high percentage of the population lives within close proximity to coastal areas. This paper examines a portion of Lake Superior's shoreline where coastal change has been shaped by the introduction of 25 million tonnes of stamp sand, a man-made sediment. Longshore currents erode and deposit sediment changing the geomorphology of the coastline on both a short- and long-term basis. This movement may be documented through comparison of archival and current air photos. A series of historical air photo mosaics were input to a Geographic Information System (GIS). The GIS was used to create spatially registered maps that graphically illustrated the areas of historical erosion and deposition along the shoreline. Measurements from the GIS indicate that the length of shoreline affected by the stamp sand increased by 2.4 kilometers during a 59-year period. Measurement of area indicates a decrease of 8 hectares in the same amount of time. Areas of erosion and deposition vary from discernible erosion of 630 meters of shoreline width at the northward end, and depositional increase of 410 meters of shoreline width 1500 meters southward along the coast. The intuitive nature of the coastal change detection maps is such that the methodology could be used as a suitable technique for monitoring historic coastal change for a broad spectrum of users not trained in interpretation of remotely sensed data.