Recent Evolution and Potential Causal Mechanisms of Cedar Island, Virginia, 1852-1986

by Cary Hauptman Gaunt, Science Applications Intl Corp, McLean, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Sediments


Shoreline mapping was used to reconstruct the historical shoreline evolution of Cedar Island, Virginia in an effort to clarify the debate on barrier island response to sea level rise -- continuous migration while maintaining land mass, in-place narrowing followed by migration, or disintegration over time. Events occurring on the immediately updrift Metomkin Island system also were examined to clarify Cedar Island changes. Data from 1910 to the present show that Cedar Island has remained positionally-stable, while thinning (i.e., losing land area) at varying rates. Island thinning increased significantly after 1962, when updrift interruptions in the longshore transport system were caused by the ephemeral inlet breaching of southern Metomkin Island and attendant sand trapping in Metomkin Bay. A field reconnaissance of Cedar Island showed that the island is not compensating for its land area losses by elevation gains, as remnant dunes are being severely scarped and flattened by overwash.

Subject Headings: Islands | Sea level | Shoreline protection | Barrier islands | Mapping | Littoral drift | Erosion | Sediment transport | Virginia | United States

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