Blowout development and expansion and the implications for coastal bio-geomorphic change.

Authors: Paul Gares*, East Carolina University, Thad Wasklewicz, East Carolina University, Patrick A Hesp, Flinders University, Ian J Walker, Arizona State University
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Geomorphology
Keywords: blowouts, coastal dunes, vegetation change
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Stones Throw 1 - Granite, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


There has been an increasing interest in the interdependence of geomorphic processes and biologic systems. This relationship has been conceptualized by Corenbilt et al. (2015), who focuses on boundary zones between aquatic and upland systems. This interaction is particularly apparent in coastal systems where ocean processes affect the beach/dune zone immediately adjacent to the ocean, giving way to aeolian processes that predominate inland from the beach. Few studies have documented the bio-geomorphic interactions in coastal dune systems. Research over the period from 2011 to 2017 at Cape Cod National Seashore provides specific evidence that supports the hypothesized relationship. Repeated annual surveys of two large blowout complexes in the Provincelands dunes provides quantitative measures of landform changes resulting from the aeolian conditions that predominated during the time intervals. The development and expansion of the study blowouts reveals the broad extent that is affected by sediment transport out of the blowouts, resulting in deposition some considerable distance downwind. The study provides evidence of vegetation burial that can occur on the margins of expanding blowouts that may result in modifications to the vegetation complexes. Although the study does not observe vegetation changes directly it does quantify changes along the boundary zones between vegetation assemblages that are likely to have long-term repercussions to the coastal environmental systems.

Corenblit,D. et al.,2015. Engineer pioneer plants respond to and affect geomorphic constraints similarly along water-terrestrial interfaces world-wide. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 24: 1363-1376.

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