Barrier Island- elongated, narrow landforms composed of sand and other lose sediments transported by waves, currents, and winds.
Bathymetric- referring to the bottom topography.
Beach- zone of active sand movement.
Beach renourishment- pumping sand onto the beach and building up former dunes and upper beach.
Dune fields- open, bare-to-grassy sand-dune areas found between the primary dunes and the maritime forest or the sound side of the island.
Erosion- the wearing away of soil, sand, or rock by the influence of water, wind, and other forces of nature.
Escarpment - steep slope
Foredune- the first dune formed on the beach.
Groin- wall built perpendicular to the shoreline intended to trap sand flowing in the alongshore current.
Inlets- channels that separate islands and are usually formed during hurricanes or severe storms.
Jetty- structure intended to keep sand from flowing into a ship channel.
Marshes- prolific breeding areas for many fish located on the sound side of barrier islands.
Microbial mat (algal mat)- an active biogeochemical zone a few millimeters thick and found in marshes; produces its own nitrogen through a process of nitrogen fixation.
Littoral drift- movement of sediments.
Overwash (fans)- develop when water, thrown up by waves and storm surge, flows between and around dunes.
Peat- partially decayed plant material.
Primary dunes- the row of dunes closest to the ocean; however, a distinct line or row may be absent.
Revetment- a structure designed to stabalize an eroding shoreline and protect agiainst storm wave attack.
Runnel- the trough between the beach and the ridge.
Seawall- hard barrier designed to receive at least one full impact of the sea during a tidal cycle.
Sediments- matter or particles deposited by wind and water.
Sound- a channel of water between the mainland and a barrier island.
Spit- a pointed area formed on the ends of barrier islands by transported sediments.
©1998, Alec M. Bodzin for the Science Junction, NC State University. All rights reserved.
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