Variations in storm response along a microtidal transgressive barrier-island arc

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Storm response along the transgressive Chandeleur barrier-island arc southeast of the Mississippi delta plain is variable because of local differences in sediment supply, shoreline orientation and barrier morphology. A study of the morphological impact of Hurricane Frederic (1979) affirmed that tropical storms are the primary agents causing erosion and migration of this barrier arc. Frederic's greatest impact was in the duneless southern Chandeleurs, where sheet-flow overwash caused flattening of the barrier profile, destruction of a strip of marsh 50-100 m wide, and shoreline retreat of approximately 30 m. In contrast, overwash in the northern Chandeleurs was confined between dunes in channels established by previous storms. This channelized overwash breached the northern Chandeleur barriers in nineteen places. As Frederic passed, return flow through these channels transported overwashed sediment back to the nearshore zone. These ebb deposits were a source for longshore drift sediments, which quickly sealed storm channels, reestablishing a coherent northern Chandeleur barrier arc. These storm response patterns may help explain long-term changes in barrier morphology. During an 84-yr period (1885-1969) the southern Chandeleurs decreased 41 % in area, with an average retreat rate of 9.1 m yr , compared to a 15% increase in area and an average shoreline retreat rate of 7.2 m yr for the northern Chandeleurs. © 1982. -1 -1

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Sedimentary Geology

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