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Open-File Report 2011–1015

Quaternary Geophysical Framework of the Northeastern North Carolina Coastal System

By E.R. Thieler, D.S. Foster, D.J. Mallinson, E.A. Himmelstoss, J.E. McNinch, J.H. List, and E.S. Hammar-Klose

Thumbnail of Title Page report-photographs of shoreline change and sea floor (9.09 KB)


The northeastern North Carolina coastal system, from False Cape, Virginia, to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, has been studied by a cooperative research program that mapped the Quaternary geologic framework of the estuaries, barrier islands, and inner continental shelf. This information provides a basis to understand the linkage between geologic framework, physical processes, and coastal evolution at time scales from storm events to millennia. The study area attracts significant tourism to its parks and beaches, contains a number of coastal communities, and supports a local fishing industry, all of which are impacted by coastal change. Knowledge derived from this research program can be used to mitigate hazards and facilitate effective management of this dynamic coastal system.

First posted July 9, 2013

For additional information contact:
Director, Wood Hole Coastal and Marine Geology Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
384 Woods Hole Road
Quissett Campus
Woods Hole, MA 02543
(508) 548–8700

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Suggested citation:

Thieler, E.R., Foster, D.S., Mallinson, D.J., Himmelstoss, E.A., McNinch, J.E., List, J.H., and Hammar-Klose, E.S., 2013, Quaternary geophysical framework of the northeastern North Carolina coastal system: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1015,

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