Coastal and Marine Geology
As Hurricane Sandy moved northward along the U.S. Atlantic coast in October 2012, USGS scientists worked to determine where and how the storm’s waves and surge might dramatically reshape the beaches and dunes that stand between the storm and coastal developments.
Dam removal is an approach to river restoration that is becoming increasingly common. In most cases, dam removal is driven by considerations other than river restoration like dam safety, but how dam removal affects aquatic and riparian systems is of great interest in many dam removals. My work in this area has had two areas of focus thus far: 1) studies of vegetation and geomorphic change associated with dam removal along the Elwha River, Washington, where the world’s largest dam removals occurred in recent years; 2) syntheses of dam removal effects.
Scientists perform a range of studies that document, assess, and model coastal change, risk, and vulnerability. Studies include historical shoreline change, the geologic structure and history of coastal regions, sediment supply and transport, sea-level rise, and how extreme storm events affect rates and impacts of coastal change.
We study the distribution and hazard potential of coastal and submarine events such as earthquakes and submarine landslides and associated tsunami potential, hurricane induced coastal inundation, extreme storms, sea-level rise and oil and gas spills. We also model development to help evaluate and forecast coastal hazard probability and occurrence.
Our scientists conduct research studies focused on geologic mapping, sampling and understanding of mineral and energy resources and studies of the geologic setting and processes to inform renewable energy development offshore.
We bring together multidisciplinary expertise focused on developing tools and models to improve understanding of how healthy ecosystems function as well as how they respond to environmental changes and human impacts including ecosystem restoration. Research studies address coral reef, coastal wetland, benthic habitat and groundwater resources.
Over 160 of our scientists, technicians, and specialists responded to Hurricane Sandy by deploying field equipment and capturing information both before and after the storm. Our Sandy Science Plan identifies major research themes that will guide research to continue the support of the recovery activities.
Dune erosion occurs when storm surge elevates waves higher on the beach, allowing them to attack and erode the coastal dune. Dune erosion makes properties behind the dune more vulnerable to future storms and the potential foroverwash
When storm-induced waves exceed the height of the dune, sand is transported over top of the dune and deposited inland. This process, known as overwash, causes a significant change in the landscape of the island.
The Estuarine Physical Response to Storms Project will assess the estuarine and adjacent wetland responses of three Atlantic lagoonal estuaries to major storm events such as Hurricane Sandy. The estuarine systems include the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary, the Chincoteague Bay, and Jamaica Bay, NY. Evaluations of sediment transport, geomorphic change, circulation, wetland stability.