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Fact Sheet 2005-3041

South Carolina Coastal Erosion Study

U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2005-3041 (Published 2005)

By Jane F. Denny, Wayne E. Baldwin, William C. Schwab, John C. Warner, M. Richard DeVoe

This report is available online in pdf format (1 MB): FS 2005-3041.pdf


Cover of FS 2005-3041.

Much of the South Carolina coast is heavily developed, supporting local populations, infrastructure, and a large tourism industry. Local economies are greatly affected by damage and property loss due to coastal erosion, which occurs primarily during severe storm events. In 1989, Hurricane Hugo caused over $5 billion in damages to coastal residences and industry. Understanding the factors controlling coastal erosion, sediment transport, and shoreline change is essential to the successful management of coastal resources.

In 1999, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in partnership with the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, began a study of processes affecting shoreline change along the northern coast of South Carolina, focusing on the Grand Strand region. Previous work along the U.S. Atlantic coast shows that the structure and composition of older geologic strata located seaward of the coast heavily influence the coastal behavior of areas with limited sediment supply, such as the Grand Strand. By defining this geologic framework and identifying the transport pathways and sinks of sediment, geoscientists are developing conceptual models of the present-day physical processes shaping the South Carolina coast


The primary objectives of this research effort are (1) to provide a regional synthesis of the shallow geologic framework underlying the coastal upland, shoreface, and inner continental shelf and to define its role in coastal evolution and modern beach behavior; (2) to identify and model the physical processes affecting coastal ocean circulation and sediment transport and to define their roles in shaping the modern shoreline; and (3) to identify sediment sources and transport pathways and eventually to construct a regional sediment budget.



Geologic Mapping

Study of Present-Day Physical Processes

Sediment Budget

References Cited

For more information, please contact:

Jane F. Denny, William C. Schwab
U.S. Geological Survey
384 Woods Hole Road
Woods Hole, MA 025431598
Telephone: 5084572311 (Denny)
5084572211 (Schwab)
Web site:

M. Richard DeVoe
South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium
Charleston, SC   29401


This report is available online in pdf format (1 MB): USGS FS 2005-3041
To view the PDF document, you need the free Adobe Acrobat® Reader installed on your computer.

For more information, contact the South Carolina Publications Unit.

USGS South Carolina Publications South Carolina Water Science Center

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