Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Geology

Major Professor

Ping Wang, Ph.D.

Keywords

Overwash, Storm deposits, Storm induced morphological change, Sedimentary architecture, Ground penetrating radar (GPR)

Abstract

Extensive overwash occurred along Florida's Atlantic and northern Gulf facing barrier islands during the passages of Hurricanes Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne in 2004. These high-energy storm events provided a unique opportunity to study the spatial depositional patterns and internal sedimentary architecture of fresh washover deposits resulting from inundation to collision regime overwash events. Sedimentological characteristics and 3-D internal architecture of the washover deposits were studied through coring, trenching, sediment analysis, ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys, and pre- and post-storm aerial photography and LiDAR topographic survey data. The cross-shore extent of washover deposition is controlled by sediment supply, accommodation space, and the extent of cross-shore penetration of overwash flow. Antecedent morphology of the beach or barrier island is the primary factor governing sediment supply and accommodation space.

Antecedent morphology coupled with spatio-temporal factors including storm position, intensity, and duration govern the extent of landward excursion of overwash flow. Washover deposition ranges from thin deposits, limited in cross-shore extent to the beach berm, to extensive sheet-like sediment bodies extending across an entire barrier island profile. Four sedimentary facies are recognized, which can be related to antecedent morphology. Berm facies, dominates the beach and seaward side of the foredune, and is characterized by a basal erosional surface and seaward dipping planar stratification. Back-berm facies extends landward from the dune crest down the backside of the foredune, exhibits little evidence of erosion along the basal contact, and is dominated by landward inclined stratification.

Platform facies, largely confined to the interior platform, exhibits little evidence of erosion along the pre-storm surface, and horizontal to gently landward dipping parallel stratification, which merges landward with, and commonly overlies steeply landward dipping foreset stratification. Antecedent hummocky dunes may be preserved within platform facies. The landward most facies, backbay facies is dominated by subaqueous deposition within the back bay, and is characterized by steeply landward dipping tabular foreset and sigmoidal stratification. In the longshore direction, backbay facies exhibit trough and mound GPR reflective patterns, representing washover sediment ridges and troughs oriented parallel to the primary flow direction, and illustrate the highly 3-dimesional nature of the washover deposits.

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