Abstract

Nine Vibracores from the backbarrier marsh at Whale Beach, New Jersey, reveal three large-scale overwash deposits associated with historic and prehistoric storms. The uppermost and smallest overwash fan was deposited in the Ash Wednesday northeaster of March 5–8, 1962. A second more substantial overwash fan between 100 and 35 cm depth dates to the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. This fan was most likely deposited during the 1821 hurricane, the only intense hurricane to make landfall in New Jersey in the past 350 yr. A third, larger overwash fan between 200 and 300 cm depth was deposited between A.D. 1278 and 1438 and is likely the result of a prehistoric intense hurricane strike. The combination of historical and stratigraphic evidence indicates that two intense hurricanes (winds >50 m s−1) have likely made landfall on the southern New Jersey coast in the past 700 yr, resulting in an annual landfall probability of 0.3%.

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