700 yr sedimentary record of intense hurricane landfalls in southern New England

Citation
Jp. Donnelly et al., 700 yr sedimentary record of intense hurricane landfalls in southern New England, GEOL S AM B, 113(6), 2001, pp. 714-727
Citations number
11
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Earth Sciences
Journal title
GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA BULLETIN
ISSN journal
0016-7606 → ACNP
Volume
113
Issue
6
Year of publication
2001
Pages
714 - 727
Database
ISI
SICI code
0016-7606(200106)113:6<714:7YSROI>2.0.ZU;2-C
Abstract
Five intense (category 3 or greater) hurricanes occurring in 1635, 1638, 18 15, 1869, and 1938 have made landfall on the New England coast since Europe an settlement. Historical records indicate that four of these hurricanes (1 635, 1638, 1815, and 1938) and hurricane Carol, a strong category 2 storm i n 1954, produced significant storm surges (>3 m) in southern Rhode Island. Storm surges of this magnitude can overtop barrier islands, removing sedime nts from the beach and nearshore environment and depositing overwash fans a cross back-barrier marshes, lakes, and lagoons. In a regime of rising sea l evel, accumulation of marsh, lake, or lagoon sediments on top of overwash d eposits will preserve a record of overwash deposition. We examined the record of overwash deposition at Succotash salt marsh in Ea st Matunuck, Rhode Island, and tested the correlation with historical recor ds of intense storms. Aerial photographs taken after hurricanes in 1954 and 1938 show overwash fans deposited at the site. Analysis of 14 sediment cor es from the back-barrier marsh confirmed the presence of these fans and rev ealed that 4 additional large-scale overwash fans were deposited within the marsh sediments. The four overwash fans deposited since the early seventeenth century at Suc cotash Marsh matches the historical record of significant hurricane-induced storm surge. These fans were most likely deposited by hurricanes in 1954, 1938, 1815, and either 1638 or 1635, Radiocarbon dating of two prehistoric overwash fans indicated that these were deposited between A,D, 1295-1407 an d 1404-1446 and probably represent intense hurricane strikes. In the past 7 00 yr, at least 7 intense hurricanes struck the southern Rhode Island coast and produced a storm surge that overtopped the barrier at Succotash Marsh.