Ridges and Island Geology
you see in the panorama is the outermost beach facing the Atlantic Ocean
where the water is very shallow. If you pan to the left you will observe
a clearly demarcated beach ridge. You can observe the differences on the
ocean side where the wave energy was stronger and left large shell deposits
while on the island side the water left darker low energy sediments as the
tide receded. Can you see other geological features on this vast beach front
that can be explained by tidal water flow?
Island geology is a very important and ever changing component of estuary
ecology. For example, there have been over a dozen inlets mapped this century
yet only a few are currently observable? What do you think happened to them?
Students can observe current and historical NC maps to see which major inlets
are currently observable. Erosion and island migration are natural processes.
Should man try to intervene? One current effort to combat the natural geologic
processes is the transportation of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. Explore
the available documentation on the massive efforts to save the 300 foot
lighthouse from falling into the sea. How long do you predict it will be
could also be engaged in discussions about ways to insure the current geologic
features of the Barrier Islands. For example, it is illegal for 4x4's to
drive on beach ridges or dunes. Can you imagine why? Students can discuss
common themes for regulated use including: 1) camping, 2) fire safety, 2)
pillaging, 4) fish and crustacean harvesting, 5) littering, 6) clearing,
and 7) other general use. Students can compare the uniqueness of some NC
beach regulations and create advertising campaign posters or web pages.