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          logoA GIS analysis of the Chincoteague inlet eddy and its impact on the shoreline morphology of northern Wallops Island, Eastern Shore Virginia


Woodlief, V. A., Cornell, S. R., Sabetta, M., Sergent, E., McGilliard, E., Oakley, A., 2012, A GIS analysis of the Chincoteague inlet eddy and its impact on the shoreline morphology of northern Wallops Island, Eastern Shore Virginia, ASLO-AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting, Abstract ID:1121, 2012.

Eric Sergent research at Wallops Island

Longshore currents along the Delmarva Peninsula run predominantly south-westward toward the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Due to local barrier island architecture and vigorous tidal flows at barrier island inlets, i.e. between Assateague and Wallops Islands, longshore currents can be disrupted or displaced offshore by eddy currents, resulting in locally-reversed longshore currents. In the case of Wallops Island, the eddys clockwise rotation and associated ebb tidal delta have significantly impacted sediment distribution and wave refraction patterns since the 1930s. This has produced a progradational pattern of successive beach faces that stack seaward some 1.14 kilometers, to the detriment of beaches to the south. This study focuses on an evaluation of shoreline change both seasonally and annually on the north end of Wallops Island. Using field surveys and a GIS, the goal is to assess sediment transport rates both onshore and alongshore since the 1930s. These data will be used to predict future sediment transport and erosional patterns in the vicinity of north Wallops to support the development of a shoreline management plan for the NASA Wallops Flight Facility.


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Kurt Friehauf - June 2013