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Sustained washover fan accretion in the absence of large storms suggests inherent changes to island overwash resistance influences paleostorm records
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  • Antonio B Rodriguez,
  • Ethan J Theuerkauf,
  • Justin T Ridge,
  • Beth M VanDusen,
  • Stephen R Fegley
Antonio B Rodriguez
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Ethan J Theuerkauf
Michigan State University, Michigan State University
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Justin T Ridge
Duke University Marine Laboratory, Duke University Marine Laboratory
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Beth M VanDusen
University of Michigan, University of Michigan
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Stephen R Fegley
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Barrier island overwash occurs when the elevation of wave runup exceeds the dune crest and induces landward transport of sediment across a barrier island and deposition of a washover deposit. Washover deposition is generally attributed to major storms, is important for the maintenance of barrier island resilience to sea-level rise and is used to extend hurricane records beyond historical accounts by reconstructing the frequency and extent of washover deposits preserved in the sedimentary record. Here, we present a high-fidelity three-year record of washover evolution and overwash at a transgressive barrier island site. During the first year after establishment, washover volume and area increased 1,595% and 197%, respectively, from at least monthly overwash. Most of the washover accretion resulted from the site morphology having a low resistance to overwash, as opposed to being directly impacted by major storms. Washover deposits can accrete over multi-year time scales; therefore, paleowashover deposits are more complex than simply event beds.
12 Nov 2020Published in Scientific Reports volume 10 issue 1. 10.1038/s41598-020-76521-4