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Barrier morphology and inlet types; low energy flank of the Cape Fear Foreland, NC



Barrier morphology and inlet types; low energy flank of the Cape Fear Foreland, NC



Proceedings of the International Conference - Coastal Engineering Conference 4



Ten morphologically similar barriers stretch between two subaerial Pleistocene headlands at Yaupon Beach, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC. The NC segment of this 70 km south facing, foreland shoreline is fronted by a low energy, sand starved shoreface which is dominated by Cretaceous to Pleistocene aged hardbottoms. A GIS investigation involving compilation of data from digitized historic maps (1855-1938) and aerial photographs (1938-1996) indicate appreciable physiographic change has occurred since 1855. Currently, the mid-compartment barriers consist of moderate relief, vegetated parabolic dune segments and intervening low, overwash-prone zones. During the last 140 years small, migrating sand sheets evolved into relatively large parabolic dunes while low, overwash-prone barrier segments replaced former inlet zones. Inlets within this cell are morphologically diverse, mixed-energy systems. All except Madd Inlet have been modified while the Cape Fear River Inlet has been extensively dredged and stabilized. At unstable inlets such as Tubbs and Madd, migration leads to downdrift erosion and updrift barrier realignment. At locationally stable inlets including Lockwoods Folly and Shallotte, erosion/accretion trends are cyclical and related to ebb channel repositioning and reorientation through ebb channel deflection or ebb delta breaching. The Cape Fear River Estuary entrance is the largest and most extensively modified inlet in the area. Maintenance dredging has altered downdrift bypassing to Bald Head Island and promoted increased erosion rates along much of the inlet influenced oceanfront beach.

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Related references

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