Tim Dellapenna, associate professor of marine sciences who studies Texas beaches, said in a Texas A&M release Tuesday the hurricane did overnight what nature takes about 65 years to do.
The island sustained extensive erosion from the storm's waves and 15-foot storm surge when it made landfall on Sept. 13, 2008, causing $30 billion in damages. Parts of the island lost more than 100 feet of shoreline.
"We know Ike removed 100 million cubic yards of sand," Dellapenna said, "and right now, sand is selling for about $25 per cubic yard. That's $2.5 billion in lost sand alone."
Texas has about 367 miles of coastline, and much of it suffers from beach erosion, with the Galveston area being Ground Zero, Dellapenna said.
Projections indicate parts of Galveston's booming West End could be wiped out by erosion by 2035 or sooner, the university said.
Some ideas for restoring lost shoreline have worked, while others have had mixed results, he said.
Dellapenna and others have worked with the Texas General Land Office to come up with ideas to fight beach erosion.
"The long-range projections for beach erosion in Texas are very troubling," Dellapenna said. "They show that parts of Galveston could be underwater in the next 20 years. Erosion is simply a problem that is not going away any time soon."