Marine Science Faculty Publications

Geologic Evidence for Onshore Sediment Transport from the Inner Continental Shelf: Fire Island, New York

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Schwab, W.C.; Baldwin, W.E.; Hapke, C.J.; Lentz, E.E.; Gayes, P.T.; Denny, J.F.; List, J.H., and Warner, J.C., 2013. Geologic evidence for onshore sediment transport from the inner continental shelf: Fire Island, New York.

Sediment budget analyses along the south shore of Fire Island, New York, have been conducted and debated in the scientific and coastal engineering literature for decades. It is well documented that a primary component of sediment transport in this system is directed alongshore from E to W, but discrepancies in volumetric sediment budget calculations remain. An additional quantity of sand, averaging about 200,000 m3/y is required to explain the growth of the western segment of the barrier island, a prograding spit. Littoral sediment derived from updrift erosion of the coast, addition of beach nourishment fill, and onshore transport of inner continental shelf, shoreface sediments, or both have all been proposed as potential sources of the additional sediment needed to balance the sediment budget deficit. Analysis of high-resolution seafloor mapping data collected in 2011, including seismic reflection profiles and inteferometric sonar acoustic backscatter and swath bathymetry; comparison with seafloor mapping data collected in 1996–1997; and shoreline change analysis from 1933 to 2011 support previous suggestions that the inner-shelf Holocene sedimentary deposit is a likely source to resolve this sediment budget discrepancy.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Coastal Research, v. 29, issue 3, p. 526-544