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Coastal and Marine Geology Program   /   Woods Hole Science Center

A Bibliography of Selected References to U.S. Marine Sand and Gravel Mineral Resources

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-300

S. Jeffress Williams, Jamey M. Reid, and Frank T. Manheim

Background Content Bibliography Acknowledgements


Coastal erosion and land loss resulting from complex natural processes (e.g. storms, sea-level rise, sediment starvation) and man-made alterations (e.g. dams, dredging, structures), often with unintended consequences, are pervasive for all coastal regions of the United States, as well as for much of the world. Development in the coastal zone continues to increase and demographic projections show these trends will continue, placing more people and development at risk. With the prospects of future climate change causing increased storminess and accelerating global sea-level rise, coastal regions are likely to experience increased erosion, inundation, and storm-surge flooding in future decades.

For developed coasts, beach nourishment is increasingly viewed as a cost-effective and environmentally sound method of mitigating coastal erosion, reducing storm and flooding risk, restoring degraded coastal ecosystems, and enhancing recreation. For beach nourishment to be viable, however, large volumes of high quality sand are necessary and must be located close to the intended project beaches. Marine sand bodies (e.g. linear shoals, paleo-valleys/channels, ebb-tide shoals) on inner to mid-shelf regions (~10m to 40m water depths) are increasingly attractive potential sand sources for beach nourishment. However, the geologic character, geometry, sediment composition and distribution of these sand bodies on the seafloor and in the subbottom are highly variable. Sand body complexity is the result of the sea-level history and associated coastal-marine processes that have affected shelf margins during the past 20,000 years, since the Last Glacial Maximum and during the Holocene marine transgression.

To meet the need for a national assessment of marine sand resources, the USGS is undertaking the Marine Aggregates Resources and Processes project, with numerous Federal, state and academic partners. Through a series of regional studies, a unified marine sediment database is being used with other geologic and geophysical information to produce a map series of seafloor sediment character, including assessments of sand resources. The literature included in this bibliography, a product of this project, is a partial listing of the results of research studies conducted over the past half-century to study the geologic character and history and evolution of shelf margins and to assess submarine hard mineral resources


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The primary focus of this bibliography is on scientific literature relating to marine sand and gravel, but also included are papers pertinent to beach nourishment using offshore sand sources, the distribution and evolutionary history of marine sand bodies, and selected papers on sand and gravel and marine sand bodies in other countries that have application to the U.S. The literature on this subject is extensive and diverse, and as such this report of 816 references is acknowledged to be only a partial listing of references available on the subject of marine aggregates.

The geographic scope of the references includes the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the United States, including the Great Lakes and some titles of special interest, which deal with foreign regions.

The sources of these references are personal scientists collections, libraries in Woods Hole, MA (MBL, WHOI, NOAA/NMFS, USGS), online search engines and databases (such as Georef, NTIS and ASFA), Federal agency collections (MMS, USACE, NOAA) and state geological survey collections (Maine, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, California, Oregon, Alaska, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan). Reports and documents are generally accessible through libraries or retrieval services (excluding some contractor reports) with a few exceptions.

The references are stored in a bibliographic database library using Endnote version 6.0 by ISI Research Soft


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The following individuals contributed references from personal collections to this bibliography: S. Boss, M. Byrnes, M. Hampton, W. Hobbs, B. Hoffman, J.T. Kelley, L. Poppe, T.J. Rowland, D. Stauble, J. Waldner, and D. Twichell. The search for references and data entry was greatly expedited through the efforts of student assistant Emma Mitchell.

This report is preliminary and has not been reviewed for conformity with U.S. Geological Survey editorial standards (or with the North American Stratigraphic Code). Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

Disclaimers and Accessibility

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