Quaternary eolian dunes and sand sheets that are stabilized by vegetation are present throughout many inland locations of the Atlantic Coastal Plain province (USA). These locations include river valleys, the Carolina Sandhills region, adjacent to Carolina Bays, and upland areas of the northern coastal plain. The eolian dunes are primarily parabolic in river valleys and in upland areas of the northern coastal plain, linear in the Carolina Sandhills region, and arcuate adjacent to Carolina Bays. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages from the eolian sands range from circa (ca.) 92–5 ka, revealing that they are relict features that are not active today. These sands have been degraded by vegetation and pedogenic processes, and are stabilized under modern environmental conditions. Most of the OSL ages are approximately coincident with the last glacial maximum (LGM), when conditions were generally colder, drier, and windier. Various features associated with these eolian dunes and sand sheets suggest that the winds that mobilized the sand blew from the northwest in the coastal plain region of Maryland and Delaware, and from the west in the coastal plain region of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Most of the eolian dunes and sand sheets are composed of fine to medium sand, although a substantial silt component is present in the northern coastal plain, and a substantial coarse sand component is present in the Carolina Sandhills region. Eolian sand mobilization would have been facilitated by conditions of stronger wind velocity (at least 4–6 m/s), lower air temperature, lower air humidity, and (or) reduced vegetation cover. Eolian sediment mobilization appears to have occurred episodically at any given site, although sites that are farther south have preserved a greater proportion of eolian sands yielding pre-LGM ages (indicating that the southern landscapes farther from the ice sheet have experienced less reworking).
|Title||Quaternary eolian dunes and sand sheets in inland locations of the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province, USA|
|Authors||Christopher S. Swezey|
|Publication Type||Book Chapter|
|Publication Subtype||Book Chapter|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Florence Bascom Geoscience Center|