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Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center || Hurricane Sandy Response – Linking the Delmarva Peninsula’s Geologic Framework to Coastal Vulnerability > Overview

Hurricane Sandy Response – Linking the Delmarva Peninsula’s Geologic Framework to Coastal Vulnerability

Overview

In the near future, sediment availability and movement may be a significant constraint on natural beach response and engineering responses associated with recovery from Hurricane Sandy. Longer-term changes in storminess and sea-level rise will also affect future sediment movement and the response of beaches and dunes. The Delmarva Peninsula includes valuable national assets such as Assateague Island National Seashore, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, the Eastern Seaboard’s longest coastal wilderness owned by The Nature Conservancy, as well as heavily developed coastal municipalities. Knowledge of a region’s antecedent geology, sediment type, distribution, deposit geometry, and transport pathways is lacking and is critical to addressing coastal issues. Comprehensive inner continental shelf geophysical mapping provides the data essential to fill these knowledge gaps. Similar efforts conducted in Fire Island, NY, North Carolina, South Carolina and Massachusetts have proven crucial to the assessment of coastal hazards as well as to habitat characterization and identification of cultural resources in those regions. Defining the geologic framework of the Delmarva coastal system through geophysical mapping of the inner continental shelf provides the scientific foundation for effective management of this dynamic coastal system as it responds to storms, sea-level rise, and anthropogenic activities .

Figure 1.  Clockwise: Map of Chesapeake Bay and the Delmarva Peninsula; Radar Image of Hurricane Sandy; Seismic Reflection Profile data collected offshore of the Delmarva Peninsula; Shipwreck off of Ocean City, MD imaged in side scan sonar backscatter;  Bathymetric data showing sand ridges; photo of seafloor ripples.

Clockwise: Map of Chesapeake Bay and the Delmarva Peninsula; Radar Image of Hurricane Sandy; Seismic Reflection Profile data collected offshore of the Delmarva Peninsula; Shipwreck off of Ocean City, MD imaged in side scan sonar backscatter; Bathymetric data showing sand ridges; photo of sea floor ripples.

 

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