Coastal Vulnerability Assessment of Virgin Islands National Park (VIIS) to Sea-Level Rise

Open-File Report 2004-1398
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
By: , and 



A coastal vulnerability index (CVI) was used to map the relative vulnerability of the coast to future sea-level rise within Virgin Islands National Park on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. The CVI ranks the following in terms of their physical contribution to sea-level rise-related coastal change: geomorphology, regional coastal slope, rate of relative sea-level rise, historical shoreline change rates, mean tidal range and mean significant wave height. The rankings for each input variable were combined and an index value calculated for 500-meter grid cells covering coastal areas of the park. The CVI highlights those regions where the physical effects of sea-level rise might be the greatest. This approach combines the coastal system's susceptibility to change with its natural ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, yielding a quantitative, although relative, measure of the park's natural vulnerability to the effects of sea-level rise. The CVI provides an objective technique for evaluation and long-term planning by scientists and park managers. Virgin Islands National Park coast consists of carbonate sand beaches, rock cliffs, fringing reefs, and mangrove wetlands. The areas within Virgin Islands National Park that are likely to be most vulnerable to sea-level rise are areas of unconsolidated sediment where coastal slope is low, and wave energy is high.

Suggested Citation

Pendleton, E.A., Theiler, E.R., and Williams, S.J., 2005, Coastal vulnerability assessment of Virgin Islands National Park (VIIS) to sea-level rise, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1398

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Data Ranking System
  • The Virgin Islands National Park
  • Methodology
  • Geologic Variables
  • Physical Process Variables
  • Coastal Vulnerability Index
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Coastal vulnerability assessment of Virgin Islands National Park (VIIS) to sea-level rise
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2004-1398
DOI 10.3133/ofr20041398
Year Published 2005
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 33 p.
Country United States
State US Virgin Islands
Other Geospatial Virgin Islands National Park
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details