ICW Section Outcrops, S.C., Summer 2016
In July of 2016, a team from the Climate and Land Use Research and Development Program took a trip to South Carolina to study outcrops of the “Canepatch” and “Socastee” formations along the Intra-Coastal Waterway, near Myrtle Beach. The age of these fossiliferous marine units has been controversial for several decades. To re-assess the ages of these formations, fossil coral specimens were collected for Uranium-Thorium radiometric dating. Through establishing the ages of sediment deposits like these that were deposited during past warm periods sea level was higher than today, we can better understand sea level variability while constraining estimates for how rising sea levels will affect the U.S. in the future.
Dr. Robert Poirier takes notes describing an outcrop of the Socastee Formation. He notes sharp contacts separating nearshore shell hash/swash deposits from the fine-medium clayey sands. Such a rapid change in deposition may indicate marine transgression (sea-level rise) and the land-ward migration of barrier island sands.