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Data Series 1100

Sediment Data From Vibracores Collected in 2016 From Fire Island, New York

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Fire Island is an approximately 50-kilometer- (km-) long barrier island with a northeast-southwest orientation that is separated from Long Island, New York, by Great South Bay. Fire Island is bounded by Fire Island Inlet to the west and Moriches Inlet to the east (fig. 1) and is centrally positioned within a larger barrier island system that spans the southern shore of Long Island. Fire Island is located along a wave-dominated, microtidal coastline with a mean tidal range of 1.3 meters (m) (Lentz and Hapke, 2011) and includes developed (residential communities), moderately developed (county parks, state parks, and Fire Island National Seashore), and undeveloped (Otis Pike Wilderness Area) areas (figs. 1 and 2).

Graphic regional map showing location of Fire Island, New York
Figure 1. Regional map showing location of Fire Island, New York. Study-area extent is indicated by red box in the inset. Differential global positioning system (DGPS) base station at Robbins Rest (REST) on Fire Island and a National Geodetic Survey (NGS) Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) ZNY1 on Long Island, New York, are also shown. [NPS, National Park Service] [Click figure to enlarge]

Previous studies (Lentz and Hapke, 2011; Hapke and others, 2016) divided Fire Island into three regions based on long-term shoreline-change and morphologic-response patterns: a net erosional eastern zone; a stable to slightly accretional central zone; and a zone of mixed erosion and accretion associated with westward barrier-island migration at the western end of Fire Island. West of Watch Hill, the Inner Continental Shelf contains shoreface-attached sand ridges that overlie Pleistocene-age sediment, which is exposed in troughs between ridges (Schwab and others, 2000, 2014). These sand ridges are composed of sand that is similar in texture, grain size, and composition to beach sand found on Fire Island, and their presence or absence has been shown to affect sediment transport patterns and coastal erosion trends (Lentz and Hapke, 2011; Schwab and others, 2013, 2017; Warner and others, 2014; Hapke and others, 2016). Locker and others (2017) mapped the distribution of nearshore sediments at Fire Island and showed that sediment thickness is greatest in the western region, providing further evidence of geologic controls on coastal sediment availability.

Photo of an undeveloped beach Photo of mineral and quartz sand ripples on a beach looking dark reddish brown on the tan sand Photo showing beach development in the background, sand in the foreground
Figure 2. Photographs of (A) undeveloped beach, (B) heavy mineral and quartz sand ripples, and (C) developed beach along Fire Island, New York. Photographs by Jennifer Miselis (U.S. Geological Survey). [Click photographs to enlarge]

This report, along with the accompanying USGS data release (Bernier and others, 2018), serves as an archive of sediment data from 14 vibracores collected along 6 transects from the subaerial shoreface at Fire Island, New York, during a survey conducted in April 2016 (USGS Field Activity Number [FAN] 2016–322–FA). Sedimentologic and stratigraphic metrics (for example, sediment texture or unit thicknesses) derived from these data can be used for spatial and temporal comparisons of these data with beach elevation profile data (Henderson and others, 2015, 2017) to better understand beach evolution at each profile location. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) and differential global positioning system (DGPS) data were also collected during the same survey as part of ongoing research investigating post-Hurricane Sandy beach response and recovery (Forde and others, 2018). Data products, including sample location tables, descriptive core logs, core photographs, results of sediment grain-size analyses, and geographic information system (GIS) data files with accompanying formal Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) metadata can be downloaded from the Core Viewer page or Bernier and others (2018).

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