During the early morning hours of September 27, 1985, Hurricane Gloria crossed the North Carolina coast near Cape Hatteras, opening several new inlets on the Outer Banks barrier-island chain. Landsat thematic mapper (TM) imagery was used to watch the closure of one of the breaches, Old Drum Inlet, and to test the applicability of the TM sensor to small-scale, high-frequency processes such as inlet dynamics. By photographically enlarging the 1:1000 000 film negatives to a scale of 1:20 000, we were able to map the progressive infilling of Old Drum Inlet over a four-month period. Good spatial resolution (30-m pixel size) and a 16-day repetition rate are features that make the TM sensor particularly useful in inaccessible areas where aerial photography is acquired at irregular and infrequent intervals.

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