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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1015

Quaternary Geophysical Framework of the Northeastern North Carolina Coastal System


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Regional geologic and geophysical mapping of the northeastern North Carolina coastal zone shows that the underlying geologic framework of Quaternary sediments determines the availability and distribution of sediment and influences coastal evolution. Ground-penetrating radar studies have identified prehistoric and historic inlet locations and intervening facies that reflect the evolutionary succession of island segments and exert local geomorphic controls. Nearshore geophysical surveys have linked both short-term (storm events) and long-term (decades) shoreline erosion hotspots to specific surf zone morphologies that may recur over time due to interactions between the shallow geologic framework and physical processes.

Interpretations of the data presented in this report and their integration with the results of coastal monitoring and modeling studies can provide a better understanding of coastal evolution. This regional synthesis provides support for a wide range of management and scientific activities by Federal, State, and local agencies and institutions, such as sand resource assessment, biologic habitat investigations, and other information necessary for coastal resource decisionmaking.

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