Abstract

Fifty-four islands of low relief, varying from 36 m to 1512 m long are present within the narrow, marsh-filled lagoons behind the barrier islands between New River Inlet and Carolina Beach Inlet in Southeastern North Carolina. Information derived from inspection of aerial photographs, historic maps and charts, and field data, indicate that these islands form where sands overtop marshes forming a narrow berm. These features likely form during periods of increased wave swash. The occurrence of these geomorphic features can be used to indicate the migration of a single inlet or several inlets along a zone prone to inlet formation. The islands consistently present a stratigraphic sequence where fine-grained, humic-stained, carbonate-free sands overlie muddy peat. Landward of these islands, organic-rich peat sequences are commonly thick (>100 cm) while just seaward, peat sequences are thin (<30 cm). Vegetation composition and species diversity on the islands are dependent upon age and height above mean sea level. Saltmeadow cordgrass ( Spartina patens ) and sea oxeye ( Borrichia frutescens ) generally characterize young islands or those islands occasionally flooded by spring tides. On islands with relief greater than 1 meter, tidal flooding is uncommon. A diverse flora, including wax myrtle ( Myrica cerifera ), red cedar ( Juniperus virginiana ), yaupon ( Ilex vomitoria ), and occasional live oak ( Quercus virginiana ) succeed the colonizers, cordgrass and sea oxeye.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.