St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

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Hurricane Isaias coastal change forecast map 8.1.2020
August 1, 2020

Hurricane Isaias Unlikely to Cause Widespread Atlantic Beach Erosion

USGS coastal change experts predict that storm waves kicked up by the Category 1 hurricane are likely to cause some erosion at the base of the dunes along about 11 percent of coastal beaches between Florida and Virginia. However, only about one percent of beaches in the region are likely to have waves overwashing the dunes, and inundation - the most severe type of beach

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On the left, the datasets are shown overlaid. On the right, the datasets are shown processed with a fusion algorithm.
July 8, 2020

Seamline Appearance Before and After Applying a DEM Fusion Algorithm

A map series showing a subset of the Puerto Rico bathymetric study area. Panels compare a “simple mosaic” formed by overlaying the most recent dataset on top of the older dataset (left panel) with the same dataset processed with the DEM fusion method (right panel).

An island with sections of short grasses has been covered by a large sand fan that was washed landward by waves.
June 9, 2020

A large washover fan on Fire Island, New York in 2012 after Hurricane

Strong storms such as hurricanes can cause drastic changes to coastal environments. For example, this large washover fan was created on Fire Island, New York in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy by waves moving sediment from the dunes and beach towards the back-barrier environment. 

Four panel image displaying corals in degraded versus good condition up close and on a coral reef.
March 31, 2020

Lesson plan key for identifying coral condition

Key used in an educational lesson plan for identifying the composition and condition of corals and coralline algae in a core. (a) Two examples of Pocillopora in good taphonomic condition (<50% erosion or encrustation of the skeleton). Intervals in cores during which Pocillopora skeletons dominate and are in good condition represent times of good coral growth and active

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Four panel image displaying corals in degraded versus good condition up close and on a coral reef.
March 31, 2020

Lesson plan key for identifying coral condition

Key used in an educational lesson plan for identifying the composition and condition of corals and coralline algae in a core. (a) Two examples of Pocillopora in good taphonomic condition (<50% erosion or encrustation of the skeleton). Intervals in cores during which Pocillopora skeletons dominate and are in good condition represent times of good coral growth and active

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Animation of a plot displaying beach elevation over time
March 19, 2020

Modeled beach profile evolution at Parramore Island, Virginia

Animation displays modeled beach profile elevation as it has evolved at Parramore Island, Virginia. These data are based on geomorphic investigation and measure distance (in kilometers) of cross-shore accretion. QS is the flux of sand to the beach, and QD is the flux of sand from the beach to the active dune. Yellow represents sand, blue represents

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Two aerial images of a barrier island, in 1994 and 2014. The size of the island is much smaller in 2014 and has moved westward.
March 19, 2020

Cedar Island, Virginia 1994 - 2014

Cedar Island, Virginia is an uninhabited barrier that has migrated landward approximately 15-30 meters per year since 1984 due to its low sediment supply. The shoreface slope is gradual but almost entirely devoid of island sediment - both responses to its recent, rapid retreat. USGS scientists collect geologic and morphologic data from this island’s shoreface. The

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Two aerial images of a barrier island, in 1994 and 2014. There is a breach in the island in 2014 that was not present in 1994.
March 19, 2020

Fire Island, New York 1994 - 2014

Fire Island, New York is sparsely populated and regularly nourished, but has few modifications that impede natural sediment exchanges. Shoreface geomorphology reflects past periods of seaward progradation and alongshore extension resulting in a relatively sediment-rich shoreface. USGS scientists collect geologic and morphologic data from this island’s shoreface. The

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Two aerial images of a barrier island, in 1994 and 2014. There is not much noticeable change between them.
March 19, 2020

Rockaway Beach, New York 1994 - 2014

Rockaway Beach, New York is heavily developed, has seawalls and groins and is regularly nourished. It hasn’t changed much over 20 years. The shoreface is steep and sediment cover doesn’t extend far from shore—likely the result of being fixed in place for decades. USGS scientists collect geologic and morphologic data from this island’s shoreface. The shoreface is an

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Animation of a plot displaying beach elevation over time
March 18, 2020

Modeled beach profile evolution at Fishing Point, Virginia

Animation displays modeled beach profile elevation as it has evolved at Fishing Point, Virginia. These data are based on historical charts and images and measure distance (in kilometers) of cross-shore accretion. QS is the flux of sand to the beach, and QD is the flux of sand from the beach to the active dune. Yellow represents sand, blue represents

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March 17, 2020

Detecting Dune Features: Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts

Tall and contiguous coastal dunes can substantially mitigate storm surge and flooding near our coasts. Understanding the position and height of dunes, as well as how these features change over time, is critical to the USGS mission of predicting impacts to coastal infrastructure and habitat caused by storms and hurricanes. To this end, the USGS operates a number of small

February 22, 2020

USGS Erosion Simulation Video

This video demonstrates a simulation of how storms can impact sandy coastlines through processes such as erosion. This demonstration is conducted at outreach events by scientists at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center. The activity can also be re-created at home or in the classroom. Learn more about USGS hurricane