Abstract

Sedimentological and micropaleontological analysis of fifteen 3-m gouge-auger cores revealed a lack of spatio-lateral continuity for paleohurricane deposits from the back-barrier marshes of Folly Island, South Carolina. The offshore-indicative calcareous microfossil content of some storm deposits was taphonomically altered or destroyed, and in many cases cores taken 10 m apart provided significantly different storm records. In several low-marsh cores, where bioturbation is more intense, storm deposits were completely unrecognizable using foraminifer or sedimentological analyses. In nearly all cores the sedimentary record of storm deposits was more extensive than the record produced using foraminifers, and, as a result, the sedimentary proxy produced shorter hurricane return periods. While offshore-indicative foraminifers in the salt marshes behind Folly Island are good indicators of their original source and mode of deposition (storm current transport from the shelf by overwash, storm inlet, or via Lighthouse Inlet), their susceptibility to destruction from bioturbation and dissolution suggests that they provide a less accurate or less complete record of storm frequency than previously thought.

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