Abstract

Ground-penetrating radar surveys along a highly dynamic, paraglacial coastline of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, reveal geological signatures of coastal environmental changes that are presently masked by coastal dunes and vegetation. The high-resolution geophysical records reveal 1) the geometry and genesis of discontinuities produced by spit migration, 2) thickness and progradation style of beach and nearshore deposits, 3) subsurface expression of a paleo-scarp beneath a prograded coastal sequence, and 4) dimensions and mode of infilling of a proglacial valley containing an ephemeral inlet channel. This study illustrates the value of geophysical research in complementing and extending the historical shoreline change data, providing the basis for quantitative assessment of landscape change, and offering a more complete picture of Holocene coastal dynamics.

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