Recent Overwash Deposition On Pea Island, NC, USA

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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Ocean Science and Engineering


Along sandy shorelines, impacting storms can produce washover deposits. Examining these deposits can yield considerable insight into storm inundation processes and flood heights, particularly in areas where directly measured flood heights after events are sparse. Here we examine Pea Island, North Carolina, which is a vulnerable segment of the North Carolina (NC) Outer Banks barrier island chain. Using a combination of imagery, LiDAR, GPR, trenching, and sediment coring, we examined washover deposits associated with Hurricanes Sandy and Isabel, and a 2006 nor’easter. Using grain-size statistics from each event, we apply a widely used inverse sediment transport model to calculate flood heights and compare with calculated wave runup values since observations were unavailable. For Hurricane Sandy and the 2006 nor’easter, the model produced flooding heights consistently higher than the calculated water level estimates. For Hurricane Isabel, the model provided an excellent fit with calculated water level estimates. Insights gained from this study yield additional observations of flood heights in this area, and event scale sediment transport trends.

Publication Title

Coastal Sediments 2023

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