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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 63 (1979)

Issue: 3. (March)

First Page: 486

Last Page: 487

Title: Interaction Between Overwash and Eolian Processes on Migrating Barrier Islands: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Stephen P. Leatherman

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Landward barrier-island migration is accomplished by three processes: (1) inlet dynamics, (2) overwash, and (3) eolian transport. Although these processes are well understood conceptually, few studies have been designed to define their relative roles and thus determine the actual mechanics of barrier-island migration in recent times.

From field surveys of sites on Nauset Spit, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Assateague Island, Maryland, an interaction between the two subaerial sediment transport processes can be recognized. Overwash surges during storm conditions deliver fairly large quantities of sand each year (often exceeding 10 cu m of overwash deposition per meter of dune breach). A large part of this material is then redistributed by the wind, eolian transport being largely governed by the winter northwest (offshore) winds.

The net result at Assateague Island is the transport of most of the sand back to the beach face. A small part (less than 10%) of the overwash sand is deposited on the backside of the primary barrier dunes. Although this amount of accretion may seem quantitatively insignificant, this sand may serve as the major source of material to the dunes for their landward translocation concurrent with the migration of the island. This same general model can be applied to the Cape Cod barrier beaches except that drift-line deposits can initiate dune development on the washover fans. These studies can be applied to barrier-island management as well as improving

End_Page 486------------------------------

our basic understanding of barrier-island dynamics.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists