USGS DUNEX Operations on the Outer Banks

USGS DUNEX Operations on the Outer Banks

DUring Nearshore Event eXperiment (DUNEX) is a multi-agency, academic, and non-governmental organization (NGO) collaborative community experiment designed to study nearshore coastal processes during storm events. 

DUNEX Home Page

DUNEX Research and Experiments

USGS participation in DUNEX will contribute new measurements and models that will increase our understanding of storm impacts to coastal environments, including hazards to humans and infrastructure and changes in landscape and natural habitats.

Pea Island Experiment

Hazards at Pea Island

Numerical Models

Aerial Imagery

Science Center Objects

As part of the DUring Nearshore Event eXperiment (DUNEX) we are mapping the geology and morphology of the nearshore coastal environment before and after weather events to assess the impact storms have on coastal erosion.   

The configuration of the beach, dune, and nearshore sand bar system prior to a storm can influence the magnitudes and directions of sediment exchanges during storms and over subsequent recovery periods. It can also determine how sediment is partitioned between various barrier island environments (e.g., shoreface, beach, dunes, backbarrier). Shoreface geophysical data from other barrier islands suggests that the migration of the nearshore sand bar during storms creates sub-seafloor geologic features (e.g., stratigraphy) that may constrain the volume of sediment in the bar system, which may impact the rate of post-storm beach and dune recovery. Further, these stratigraphic features may indicate the maximum extent of offshore bar migration during a storm. An assessment of shoreface geology and morphology may help to estimate the magnitudes and directions of storm- and recovery-related sediment fluxes, how those fluxes are partitioned across barrier island environments, and how geologically-constrained bar volume changes over time. To this end, we have conducted a pre-storm geophysical survey aboard the USACE LARC that will be followed by a series of post-storm surveys.  

An amphibious vessel call a LARC (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo) at the USACE Field Research Facility

USGS Research Geologist Jennifer Miselis will conduct shoreface geophysical surveys at the USACE Field Research Facility during DUNEX aboard the LARC, which is shown here being set up for the survey. (Credit: Jennifer Miselis, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center. Public domain.)

The data collected as part of these efforts will allow us to 1) measure nearshore geology and morphology, 2) estimate storm- and recovery-related sediment fluxes and sand bar volume, and 3) understand the forces that do (or do not) develop shoreface morphology and stratigraphy through integration of our observations with other DUNEX efforts. 

USGS DUNEX geophysical survey underway off of a USACE amphibious vessel in Duck, North Carolina

A geophysical instrument (chirp) is towed in the water (yellow instrument) from a floating sled to acquire information about the geology below the seafloor in Duck, NC as part of DUNEX. The USACE Field Research Facility can be seen in the background in the upper left corner. (Credit: Jennifer Miselis, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center. Public domain.)