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This article is for GENESIS Model. The GENESIS Model has been replaced by the GenCade Model in current editions of SMS.

GENEralized Model for SImulating Shoreline Change (GENESIS) simulates the long-term platform evolution of the beach in response to imposed wave conditions, coastal structures, and other engineering activity (e.g., beach nourishment).


Typical longshore extents and time periods of modeled projects can be in the ranges of one to 100 km and one to 100 months, respectively, and almost arbitrary numbers and combinations of groins, detached breakwaters, seawalls, jetties, and beach fills can be represented. GENESIS simulates shoreline change produced by spatial and temporal differences in longshore sand transport. Shoreline movement such as that produced by beach fills and river sediment discharges can also be represented. The main utility of the modeling system lies in simulating the response of the shoreline to structures sited in the nearshore. Shoreline change produced by cross-shore sediment transport as associated with storms and seasonal variations in wave climate cannot be simulated; such cross-shore processes are assumed to average out over a sufficiently long simulation interval or, in the case of a new project, be dominated by rapid changes in shoreline position from a nonequilibrium to an equilibrium configuration.

Capabilities of GENESIS:

  • Almost arbitrary numbers and combinations for groins, jetties, detached breakwaters, beach fills, and seawalls
  • Compound structures such as T-shaped, Y-shaped, and spur groins
  • Bypassing of sand around and transmission through groins and jetties
  • Diffraction at detached breakwaters, jetties, and groins
  • Coverage of wide spatial extent
  • Offshore input waves of arbitrary height, period, and direction
  • Multiple wave trains (as from independent wave generation sources)
  • Sand transport due to oblique wave incidence and longshore gradient in height
  • Wave transmission at detached breakwaters

Using the Model / Practical Notes

Shoreline change models are not applicable to simulating a randomly fluctuating beach system in which no trend in shoreline position is evident. In particular, GENESIS is not applicable to calculating shoreline change in the following situations that involve beach change unrelated to coastal structures, boundary conditions, or spatial differences in wave-induced longshore sand trnasport:

  • Beach change inside inlets or in areas dominated by tidal flow
  • Beach change produced by wave-generated currents
  • Storm-induced beach erosion in which cross-shore sediment transport processes are dominant
  • Scour at structures

Limitations of GENESIS:

  • No wave reflection from structures
  • No tombolo development (shoreline cannot touch a detached breakwater)
  • No direct provision for changing tide level
  • Basic limitations of shoreline change modeling theory

Graphical Interface

SMS provides a graphical interface that is designed to allow users to visualize the projects they are creating, easily modify project parameters, and view the solutions produced by the GENESIS model. See GENESIS Graphical Interface for more information.

The GENESIS Graphical Interface contains tools to create and edit an GENESIS simulation. The simulation consists of a geometric definition of the model domain (the grid) and a set of numerical parameters. The parameters define the boundary conditions and options pertinent to the model.

The interface is accessed by selecting the 1D Grid Module and setting the current model to GENESIS. If a grid has already been created for a GENESIS simulation or an existing simulation read, the grid object will exist in the Project Explorer and selecting that object will make the 1D Grid module active and set the model to GENESIS. See the 1D Grid Module documentation for guidance on building and editing 1D Grids as well as visualizing results.

The interface consists of the 1D Grid Module Menus and tools augmented by the GENESIS Menu. See GENESIS Graphical Interface for more information.


When completing the File | Save As... menu command, the following files get saved in the *.sms file:

  • *.mat referenced to new save location
  • bath.h5 referenced to new save location
  • stw_grd.h5 referenced to new save location
  • spec_grds.h5 referenced to new save location
  • *.map referenced to new save location
  • *.gen referenced to new save location
  • *.sol referenced to original save location until re-ran

External Links

  • US Army Corps of Engineers Coastal & Hydraulics Laboratory GENESIS website [1]
  • GENESIS, Report 1, Technical Reference [2]
  • GENESIS, Report 2, Workbook and System User's Manual [3]
  • User's Guide to the Shoreline Modeling System [4]
  • A History of GENESIS Updates [5]
  • Mar 2002 ERDC/CHL CHETN-II-45 Wave Transmission at Detached Breakwaters for Shoreline Response Modeling [6]
  • Mar 1990 CETN-II-21 Computer Program: Genesis Version 2 [7]

Related Topics