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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 56 (1972)

Issue: 9. (September)

First Page: 1900

Last Page: 1901

Title: Significance of Changes in Shoreline Features along Texas Gulf Coast: ABSTRACT

Author(s): J. H. McGowen, L. E. Garner, B. H. Wilkinson

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The open Texas coast is characterized by 3 distinct types of shoreline: (1) barrier islands consisting of sand beaches, fore-island dunes, and a vegetated or barren back-island area; (2) peninsulas where beaches are dominated by shell (shell ramps with or without incipient dunes form the crest of the peninsula), and storm channels and washover deposits dominate the back-island area; and (3) strand plain a few to several hundred feet across, where shell material and rock fragments are dominant over terrigenous sand. Physiographic features of strand plains are a steep forebeach and a wide shell ramp that terminates as a steep avalanche face. Only the barrier islands and peninsulas are associated with bays and lagoons.

When viewed separately, these shoreline features appear to have a random distribution. However, when their occurrence is considered in the context of Pleistocene and Holocene depositional history of the Texas coastal zone, there is order in their distribution. Barrier islands develop in the same areas as do sand-rich Pleistocene deltas with broad strand plains. Peninsulas are positioned along Pleistocene interdeltaic areas. Strand plains are situated along the distal parts of mud-rich Pleistocene and Holocene deltas.

Distribution of these 3 shoreline types along the Texas coast cannot be explained adequately by a sand source from modern rivers being transported by longshore drift. Occurrence of the 3 shoreline types can be explained best by local Pleistocene and early Holocene sediment sources. Broad, sand-rich barrier islands are presently moving toward an equilibrium state where sediment input is about equaled by intensity of physical processes.

End_Page 1900------------------------------

Narrow, shell-rich peninsulas are moving toward the mainland at rates of 2-14 ft/year. Narrow, shell-rich strand plains are in a state of rapid erosion--up to 30 ft/year.

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