Type of Document Thesis Author Priestas, Anthony Michael URN etd-04132009-102455 Title Morphological Barrier Island Changes and Recovery of Dunes After Hurricane Dennis, St. George Island, Florida Degree Master of Science Department Geological Sciences, Department Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Sergio Fagherazzi Committee Chair Jennifer Georgen Committee Member Stephen Kish Committee Member Jon Anthony Stallins Outside Committee Member Keywords
- Dune Recovery
- LIDAR; Overwash
- Hurricane Dennis
Date of Defense 2008-07-18 Availability unrestricted AbstractA robust dune system is one of the principal factors in the protection of recreational and residential property within barrier islands. Storm surge from significantly large storm events may remove some or all of the dunes during overwash processes and deposit sediment as washover fans or terraces in the back-barrier. During the summer of 2005, Hurricane Dennis greatly overwashed much of the northwest barrier island chain along the Florida panhandle.
The post-storm recovery of dunes and morphological changes occurring after Hurricane Dennis within St. George Island State Park is investigated, in addition to the application of numerical methods as a supplemental tool in determining the post-storm “recovery state” of the barrier and envision morphologic trends. Dune recovery rates are estimated by calculating sediment volume changes of profiles through time. One-dimensional, spatial-series Fourier analysis of individual profiles are used to quantify the recovery and morphologic nature of secondary dunes. Two-dimensional Fourier analysis of elevation data were attempted to be used as a tool to discriminate geomorphic trends in the barrier. Digital elevation models are used to describe post-storm morphologic changes, and the future recovery state of the barrier may be supplemented by analyzing the distributions of curvature and gradients calculated numerically from LIDAR data.
Results show that secondary dunes recovered at an average rate of ~3-4 cm per month, and sediment volume changes across transects varied between -1.5 m3/m to1.2 m3/m depending on the presence of vegetation, storm-debris pavement, and proximity to washover deposits. Despite some transects having a net sediment volume loss, all dunes in the presence of vegetation had increased in height. Vegetation did not propagate where storm-debris pavement existed during the one-year duration of the study. The presence of vegetation inhibited dune migration thus favoring dune growth or decreasing the effect of erosion from strong wind events.
Fourier analysis of profiles captured changes in dune height at specific wavelengths. The highest energies from the spectra were usually at 30 to 40 meter wavelengths for each profile in time, which reflects the immobility of the dunes and may also reflect the controls of vegetation on dune spacing. The results of two-dimensional Fourier analysis on terrain data were difficult to interpret, but may prove a potential use in terrain analysis.
Overwash was prevalent throughout the barrier. For the studied area, St. George Island had experienced inundation overwash with an estimated 100,000 ft3/ft net loss of sediment following the hurricane. Nearly the entire foredune complex was removed, save a few remnants. Storm surge had likely penetrated first in areas where foredunes were either low or discontinuous; in these areas, beach widening was less prevalent. In contrast, the beach widening (~30ft) occurred in areas where the foredunes were higher and more continuous.
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