Coastal & Shallow Sea Systems (February 18 & 20)

The USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program maintains an extensive set of webpages. One of the most interesting for coastal geology covers the coastal damage produced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, including impressive lidar images of pre- and post-hurricane coastal changes in three dimensions. The more recent USGS National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards website is scary. El Niño is a climatic state which greatly affects coastal processes, especially on the west coast of North America. You may enjoy looking at surf webcams to escape this cold Ohio winter! Here’s a “documentary” on waves and surfing.

We now know much about tsunamis and their often tragic effects. The Tsunami Information Website from NOAA has tsunami graphics and simulations. The PBS webpage on tsunamis has graphic stories and a small animation. You will want to read about the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. To really terrorize yourself, watch the Top Five Tsunami Videos on YouTube. (Don’t be fooled by the fake title photo.) It appears to be a good idea to just stay away from large bodies of water.

When it comes to understanding the difference between spring and neap tides, you can’t beat this simple animation by James Irwin which I will use in class (if I can just figure out how to slow it down). There is a nice barrier island panorama and other images from the coast of North Carolina on this website from Steve White.

Here is your Second Essay Assignment (due 7:30 am, February 27, in your Dropbox folder).

Sediment plume from DeGeerladen, south shore of Isfjorden, Svalbard, Norway. (Click image for larger view.)

Geology in the News –

The insect apocalypse is upon us. We are in the midst of a terrible Mass Extinction equivalent to some of the worst we’ve seen in the fossil record. Insect losses signal ecosystem collapse. Yikes.

A new tyrannosaur has been found in Canada. Thanatotheristes degrootorum (“Reaper of Death”) is one of the earliest of its fearsome kind.

As for meandering rivers, here is a spectacular new series of LiDAR images of past Mississippi River channels.

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