SPCMSC scientists travel to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to conduct DUNEX research

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SPCMSC Research Geologist Jennifer Miselis and Operations scientist Andy Farmer will conduct a geophysical survey at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Field Research Facility in Duck, NC as part of DUNEX.

A woman stands on board a vessel with wheels on a sandy shoreline near the ocean, operating scientific equipment.

USGS scientist Jennifer Miselis stands on board the US Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo (LARC). USGS collaborated with USACE to analyze coastal change due to Hurricane Sandy. Miselis is preparing to deploy a Chirp sub-bottom profiling system with a towfish attached in between the pontoons to collect sub-seafloor geological data. The purpose of this survey was to better understand how the geology of the shoreface varies along the length of Fire Island, New York and how that might impact post-storm recovery processes and barrier island response to sea-level rise. (Credit: Cheryl Hapke, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

Funded through the Coastal Sediment Availability and Flux (CSAF) project, this research is part of DUNEX (During Nearshore Event Experiment), led by the U.S. Coastal Research Program (USCRP). This field experiment involves multiple organizations (federal and state agencies, coastal managers, and academic institutions) and is designed to understand how oceanographic processes alter coastal geomorphology during storms. The original experiment was planned for the fall of 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic and has now been rescheduled for summer/fall of 2021. The idea behind DUNEX is to gather researchers from across the coastal community to make simultaneous and complementary observations that often have never been combined before. This small part of the larger DUNEX effort will investigate how morphology and geology of the shoreface co-evolve, or what it looks like before the storm, immediately after, and then how it changes over a recovery period. This survey will provide the pre-storm information that will be the basis of comparison to all subsequent surveys. To do this, Research Geologist Jennifer Miselis and Electronics Technician Andy Farmer will deploy USGS geophysical instrumentation from a USACE amphibious vessel so data can be collected as close to shore as possible. Combined with data collected by other DUNEX collaborators, the data will help Miselis understand the timing and magnitude of the geomorphologic changes affected by storms and the driving processes at a resolution and scale that is rarely achieved.

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