Heavy minerals in the coastal zone of Alabama and Mississippi have been observed for many years; most published work has been either on a broad regional basis (Goldstein, 1942; Hsü, 1960; Shepard, 1960; van Andel and Poole, 1960) or concentrated on the barrier islands (Foxworth and others, 1962; Hahn, 1962; Harding, 1960). The Alabama-Mississippi region lies in the Eastern Gulf Province (Goldstein, 1942), which is characterized, by the metamorphic heavy minerals kyanite, staurolite, tourmaline, and epidote. Goldstein, from 20 samples, suggested an average heavy mineral content of about 0.4 weight percent of the sediment throughout the Eastern Gulf Province.
There are few data pertaining to the sub-sea-level mineral distribution in the present area of investigation. Studies by Goldstein (1942), Hsü (1960), and Upshaw and others (1966) have included about a dozen samples from the area. More extensive studies of heavy mineral distributions, transportation, and concentration processes have been undertaken by Tanner and others (1961) and Stapor (1973) for the Apalachicola Bay area of Florida. Stow and others (1976) published preliminary observations on the heavy mineral resource potential for offshore Alabama and Mississippi, but they did not interpret the distribution data.