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Sedimentologic characteristics of recent washover deposits from Assateague Island, Maryland

June 8, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey has a long history of responding to and documenting the impacts of storms along the Nation’s coasts and incorporating these data into storm impact and coastal change vulnerability assessments. Although physical changes caused by tropical and extratropical storms to the sandy beaches and dunes fronting barrier islands are generally well documented, the interaction between sandy shoreline erosion and overwash with the back-barrier wetland and estuarine environments is poorly constrained. The goal of the Barrier Island and Estuarine Wetland Physical Change Assessment project is to integrate a wetland-change assessment with existing coastal-change assessments for the adjacent sandy dunes and beaches, initially focusing on Assateague Island along the Maryland and Virginia coastline. Assateague Island was impacted by waves and storm surge associated with the passage of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, causing erosion and overwash along the ocean-facing sandy shoreline as well as erosion and overwash deposition in the back-barrier and estuarine bay environments.

This report describes sediment data collected using sand augers in active overwash zones on Assateague Island in Maryland. Samples were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) during two surveys in March/April and October 2014 (USGS Field Activity Numbers [FAN] 2014-301-FA and 2014-322-FA, respectively). The physical characteristics (for example, sediment texture or bedding structure) of and spatial differences among these deposits will provide information about overwash processes and sediment transport from the sandy barrier-island reaches to the back-barrier environments. Metrics derived from these data, such as mean grain size or deposit thicknesses, can be used to ground-truth remote sensing and geophysical data and can also be incorporated into sediment transport models. Data products, including sample location tables, descriptive core logs, core photographs and x-radiographs, the results of sediment grain-size analyses, and Geographic Information System (GIS) data files with accompanying formal Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) metadata can be downloaded from the Data Downloads page.

Publication Year 2016
Title Sedimentologic characteristics of recent washover deposits from Assateague Island, Maryland
DOI 10.3133/ds999
Authors Julie Bernier, Nicholas J. Zaremba, Cathryn J. Wheaton, Alisha M. Ellis, Marci E. Marot, Christopher G. Smith
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Series
Series Number 999
Index ID ds999
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center