Drowned Barriers as Archives of Coastal-Response to Sea-Level Rise

Chapter

Abstract

Advances in submarine technologies and increased exploration of continental shelves are revealing increasingly more submerged barriers that have drowned in response to early- to mid-Holocene sea-level rise. These coastal archives, when combined with information on sea-level trends, oceanographic conditions and palaeogeography, are valuable palaeo-evidence that can be used to understand the processes and drivers of coastal change. In this chapter, we synthesize documented examples of drowned barriers preserved on continental shelves across the world. Using these examples, we examine the relative significance of controls on barrier drowning (aka overstepping) whereby the barrier becomes drowned offshore of the advancing shoreline. Relative sea-level rise (RSLR), sediment supply and topography are the principal controls on shoreline retreat, but the interaction between these factors cannot readily be deconstructed as they are not in operation simultaneously, nor present along all coasts. However, it is possible to recognize local conditions that make barriers vulnerable to overstepping. It is shown that barrier retreat through overstepping is enhanced by one or more of the following; coarse grain size, cemented sediment, high sediment supply rates, topographic pinning and a rapid increase in accommodation. We emphasize that to gain a better understanding of the likely response of barrier coastal systems to future RSLR and to better constrain numerical models, we need to fully utilize the geological record left behind by former coastal systems that underwent accelerated RSLR in the past.

Keywords

Barrier Coast Overstepping Rollover Drowned Sea level Transgression Holocene Submerged landscape Coastal retreat Sediment supply Palaeoshoreline 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the editors of this volume for inviting this review and their comments on the manuscript. We would also like to thank John Anderson and an anonymous reviewer for their input which improved the manuscript. Chris Thomas is thanked for his review. This research is published with the permission of the Executive Director of the British Geological Survey (BGS) and was supported in part by BGS’s Marine Geoscience research programme.

References

  1. Albarracín S, Alcántara-Carrió J, Barranco A, García MJS, Bouzas AF, Salgado JR (2013) Seismic evidence for the preservation of several stacked Pleistocene coastal barrier/lagoon systems on the Gulf of Valencia continental shelf (western Mediterranean). Geo-Mar Lett 33:217–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson JB, Wallace DJ, Simms AR, Rodriquez AB, Miliken KT (2014) Variable response of coastal environments of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico to sea-level rise and climate change: implications for future change. Mar Geol 352:348–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Belknap DF, Kraft JC (1981) Preservation potential of transgressive coastal lithosomes on the US Atlantic shelf. Mar Geol 42:429–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bennike OLE, Jensen JBO, Konradi PB, Lemke W, Heinemeier JAN (2000) Early Holocene drowned lagoonal deposits from the Kattegat, southern Scandinavia. Boreas 29:272–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Billy J, Robin N, Hein CJ, Certain R, FitzGerald DM (2015) Insight into the Late Holocene sea-level changes in the NW Atlantic from a paraglacial beach-ridge plain south of Newfoundland. Geomorphology 248:134–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blum MD, Roberts HH (2009) Drowning of the Mississippi Delta due to insufficient sediment supply and global sea-level rise. Nat Geosci 2:488–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brenner OT, Moore LJ, Murray AB (2015) The complex influences of back-barrier deposition, substrate slope and underlying stratigraphy in barrier island response to sea-level rise: insights from the Virginia Barrier Islands, Mid-Atlantic Bight, USA. Geomorphology 246:334–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brooks GR, Doyle LJ, Suthard BC, Locker SD, Hine AC (2003) Facies architecture of the mixed carbonate/siliciclastic inner continental shelf of west-central Florida: implications for Holocene barrier development. Mar Geol 200:325–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Browne I (1994) Seismic stratigraphy and relict coastal sediments off the east coast of Australia. Mar Geol 122:81–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carter RWG (1988) Coastal environments. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Cattaneo A, Steel RJ (2003) Transgressive deposits: a review of their variability. Earth Sci Rev 62:187–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Church JA, Clark PU, Cazenave A, Gregory JM, Jevrejeva S, Levermann A, Merrifield MA, Milne GA, Nerem RS, Nunn PD, Payne AJ, Pfeffer WT, Stammer D, Unnikrishnan AS (2013) Sea level change. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner JK, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  13. Clark JA, Farrell WE, Peltier WR (1978) Global changes in postglacial sea level: a numerical calculation. Quat Res 9:265–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cowell PJ, Thom BG (1994) Morphodynamics of coastal evolution. In: Carter RWG, Woodroffe CD (eds) Coastal evolution: late quaternary shoreline morphodynamics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 33–86Google Scholar
  15. Cowell PJ, Roy PS, Jones RA (1991) Shoreface translation model: application to management of coastal erosion. In: Brierley G, Chappell J (eds) Applied quaternary studies, biogeography and geomorphology. Australian National University, Canberra, pp 57–73Google Scholar
  16. Curray JR (1964) Transgression and regression. In: Miller RL (ed) Papers in marine geology. Macmillan Company, New York, pp 175–203Google Scholar
  17. Feagin RA, Sherman DJ, Grant WE (2005) Coastal erosion, global sea-level rise, and the loss of sand dune plant habitats. Front Ecol Environ 3:359–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fenster MS, Dolan R, Elder JF (1993) A new method for predicting shoreline positions from historical data. J Coast Res 9(1):147–171Google Scholar
  19. FitzGerald DM, Fenster MS, Argow BA, Buynevich IV (2008) Coastal impacts due to sea-level rise. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 36:601–647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Forbes DL, Taylor RB, Orford JD, Carter RWG, Shaw J (1991) Gravel-barrier migration and overstepping. Mar Geol 97:305–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Forbes DL, Orford JD, Carter RWG, Shaw J, Jennings SC (1995) Morphodynamic evolution, self-organisation, and instability of coarse-clastic barriers on paraglacial coasts. Mar Geol 126:63–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gardner JV, Dartnell P, Mayer LA, Hughes Clarke JE, Calder BR, Duffy G (2005) Shelf-edge deltas and drowned barrier island complexes on the Northwest Florida outer continental shelf. Geomorphology 64:133–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gardner JV, Calder BR, Hughes Clarke JE, Mayer LA, Elston G, Rzhanov Y (2007) Drowned shelf-edge deltas, barrier islands and related features along the outer continental shelf north of the head of De Soto Canyon, NE Gulf of Mexico. Geomorphology 89:370–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gibbons SJA, Nicholls RJ (2006) Island abandonment and sea-level rise: An historical analog from the Chesapeake Bay, USA. Glob Environ Change 16:40–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Goodman B, Reinhardt E, Dey H, Boyce J, Schwarcz H, Sahoglu V, Erkanal H, Artzy M (2008) Evidence for Holocene marine transgression and shoreline progradation due to barrier development in Iskele, Bay of Izmir, Turkey. J Coast Res 245:1269–1280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Green A, Leuci R, Thackeray Z, Vella G (2012) Number One Reef: an overstepped segmented lagoon complex on the KwaZulu-Natal continental shelf. S Afr J Sci 108:1–5Google Scholar
  27. Green AN, Cooper JAG, Leuci R, Thackeray Z (2013) Formation and preservation of an overstepped segmented lagoon complex on a high-energy continental shelf. Sedimentology 60:1755–1768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Haigh ID, Wahl T, Rohling EJ, Price RM, Pattiaratchi CB, Calafat FM, Dandendorf S (2014) Timescales for detecting a significant acceleration in sea level rise. Nat Commun 5:3635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hede MU, Bendixen M, Clemmensen LB, Kroon A, Nielsen L (2013) Joint interpretation of beach-ridge architecture and coastal topography show the validity of sea-level markers observed in ground-penetrating radar data. The Holocene 23(9):1238–1246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hein CJ, FitzGerald DM, Thadeu de Menezes J, Cleary WJ, Klein AHF, Albernaz MB (2014) Coastal response to late-stage transgression and sea-level highstand. GSA Bull 126(3–4):459–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hijma MP, Cohen KM (2010) Timing and magnitude of the sea-level jump preluding the 8200 yr event. Geology 38:275–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hijma MP, van der Spek AJF, van Heteren S (2010) Development of a mid-Holocene estuarine basin, Rhine–Meuse mouth area, offshore The Netherlands. Mar Geol 271:198–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hill TM, Brooks GR, Duncan DS, Medioli FS (2003) Benthic foraminifera of the Holocene transgressive west-central Florida inner shelf: paleoenvironmental implications. Mar Geol 200:263–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jarrett BD, Hine AC, Halley RB, Naar DF, Locker SD, Neumann AC, Twichell D, Hu C, Donahue BT, Jaap WC, Palandro D, Ciembronowicz K (2005) Strange bedfellows—a deep-water hermatypic coral reef superimposed on a drowned barrier island; southern Pulley Ridge, SW Florida platform margin. Mar Geol 214:295–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jensen JB, Stecher O (1992) Paraglacial barrier—lagoon development in the late pleistocene Baltic Ice Lake, southwestern Baltic. Mar Geol 107:81–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jevrejeva S, Moore JC, Grinsted A, Matthews AP, Spada G (2014) Trends and acceleration in global and regional sea levels since 1807. Glob Planet Chang 113:11–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kelley JT, Belknap DF, Claesson SH (2010) Drowned coastal deposits with associated archaeological remains from a sea-level “slowstand”: Northwestern Gulf of Maine, USA. Geology 38:695–698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kelley JT, Belknap DF, Kelley AR, Claesson SH (2013) A model for drowned terrestrial habitats with associated archeological remains in the northwestern Gulf of Maine, USA. Mar Geol 338:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kraft KC (1971) Sedimentary facies patterns and geologic history of a Holocene marine transgression. GSA Bull 82:2131–2158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Leatherman SP, Rampino MR, Sanders JE (1983) Barrier island evolution in response to sea level rise; discussion and reply. J Sediment Res 53:1026–1033CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lentz EE, Hapke CJ, Stockdon HF, Hehre RE (2013) Improving understanding of near-term barrier island evolution through multi-decadal assessment of morphologic change. Mar Geol 337:125–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lericolais G, Popescu I, Guichard F, Popescu SM (2007) A Black Sea lowstand at 8500 yr B.P. indicated by a relict coastal dune system at a depth of 90 m below sea level. In: Harff J, Hay WW, Tetzlaff DM (eds) Coastline changes: interrelation of climate and geological processes. GSA Special Paper 426Google Scholar
  43. Liu JP, Milliman JD (2004) Reconsidering melt-water pulses 1A and 1B: global impacts of rapid sea-level rise. J Ocean Univ China 3:183–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Long AJ, Plater AJ, Waller MJ, Innes JB (1996) Holocene coastal evolution in the Eastern English Channel: new evidence from the Romney Marsh region, United Kingdom. Mar Geol 136:97–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lorenzo-Trueba J, Ashton A (2014) Rollover, drowning, and discontinuous retreat: Distinct modes of barrier response to sea-level rise arising from a simple morphodynamic model. J Geophys Res Earth Surf 119:779–801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Maselli V, Hutton EW, Kettner AJ, Syvitski JPM, Trincardi F (2011) High-frequency sea level and sediment supply fluctuations during Termination I: an integrated sequence-stratigraphy and modeling approach from the Adriatic Sea (Central Mediterranean). Mar Geol 287:54–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Masselink G, Russell P, Blenkinsopp C, Turner I (2010) Swash zone sediment transport, step dynamics and morphological response on a gravel beach. Mar Geol 274(1):50–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McBride RA, Byrnes MR (1997) Regional variations in shore response along barrier island systems of the Mississippi River delta plain: historical change and future prediction. J Coast Res 13(3):628–655Google Scholar
  49. McCall RT, Masselink G, Poate TG, Roelvink JA, Almeida LP, Davidson M, Russell PE (2014) Modelling storm hydrodynamics on gravel beaches with XBeach-G. Coast Eng 91:231–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mellett CL, Hodgson DM, Lang A, Mauz B, Selby I, Plater AJ (2012a) Preservation of a drowned gravel barrier complex: a landscape evolution study from the north-eastern English Channel. Mar Geol 315–318:115–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mellett CL, Mauz B, Plater AJ, Hodgson DM, Lang A (2012b) Optical dating of drowned landscapes: a case study from the English Channel. Quat Geochronol 10:201–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Moore LJ, List JH, Williams SJ, Stolper D (2010) Complexities in barrier island response to sea-level rise: insights from model experiments. J Geophys Res Earth Surf 115:F03004Google Scholar
  53. Morton RA, Miller T, Moore L (2005) Historical shoreline changes along the US Gulf of Mexico: a summary of recent shoreline comparisons and analyses. J Coast Res 21(4):704–709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Nordfjord S, Goff JA, Austin JA Jr, Duncan LS (2009) Shallow stratigraphy and complex transgressive ravinement on the New Jersey middle and outer continental shelf. Mar Geol 266:232–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Novak B (2002) Early Holocene brackish and marine facies in the Fehmarn Belt, southwest Baltic Sea: depositional processes revealed by high-resolution seismic and core analysis. Mar Geol 189:307–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Orford JD (2011) Gravel-dominated coastal-barrier reorganisation variability as a function of coastal susceptibility and barrier resilience. In: Ping W (ed) Proceedings of the coastal sediments, vol 2. World Scientific Publishing Company, Singapore, pp 1257–1270Google Scholar
  57. Orford JD, Anthony EJ (2011) Extreme events and the morphodynamics of gravel-dominated coastal barriers: strengthening uncertain ground. Mar Geol 290:41–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Orford JD, Carter RWG, Forbes DL (1991) Gravel barrier migration and sea level rise: some observations from Story Head, Nova Scotia, Canada. J Coast Res 7(2):477–489Google Scholar
  59. Orford JD, Forbes DL, Jennings SC (2002) Organisational controls, typologies and time scales of paraglacial gravel-dominated coastal systems. Geomorphology 48(1):51–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pilkey OH, Neal WJ, Riggs SR, Webb CA, Bush DM, Pilkey DF, Bullock J, Cowan BA (1998) The North Carolina shore and its barrier islands: restless ribbons of sand. Duke University Press, Durham. 344pGoogle Scholar
  61. Plater AJ, Stupples P, Roberts HM (2009) Evidence of episodic coastal change during the Late Holocene: the Dungeness barrier complex, SE England. Geomorphology 104(1–2):47–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Prime T, Brown JM, Plater AJ (2016) Flood inundation uncertainty: the case of a 0.5% annual probability flood event. Environ Sci Policy 59:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rampino MR, Sanders JE (1980) Holocene transgression in South-central Long Island, New York. J Sediment Res 50:1063–1079Google Scholar
  64. Rampino MR, Sanders JE (1982) Holocene transgression in South-central Long Island, New York; reply. J Sediment Res 52:1020–1025Google Scholar
  65. Rieu R, Van Heteren S, Van der Spek AJF, De Boer PL (2005) Development and preservation of a mid-Holocene tidal-channel network offshore the western Netherlands. J Sediment Res 75:409–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rodriguez AB, Meyer CT (2006) Sea-level variation during the Holocene deduced from the morphologic and stratigraphic evolution of Morgan Peninsula, Alabama, U.S.A. J Sediment Res 76(2):257–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rodriguez AB, Anderson JB, Fernando PS, Taviani M (1999) Sedimentary facies and genesis of Holocene sand banks on the East Texas inner continental shelf. In: Sneddin J, Bergman K (eds) Isolated shallow marine sand bodies, vol 64, SEPM Special Publication, pp 165–178Google Scholar
  68. Rodriguez AB, Simms AR, Anderson JB (2010) Bay-head deltas across the northern Gulf of Mexico back step in response to the 8.2 ka cooling event. Quat Sci Rev 29:3983–3993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Roy PS, Cowell PJ, Ferland MA, Thom BG (eds) (1994) Wave-dominated coasts. Coastal evolution: late quaternary shoreline morphodynamics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 121–186Google Scholar
  70. Saito Y (2001) Deltas in Southeast and East Asia: their evolution and current problems. In: Proceedings of the APN/SURVAS/LOICZ joint conference on coastal impacts of climate change and adaptation in the Asia–Pacific Region, 14–16th November 2000, Kobe, Japan, Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research, pp 185–191Google Scholar
  71. Salzmanm L, Green A, Cooper JAG (2013) Submerged barrier shoreline sequences on a high energy, steep and narrow shelf. Mar Geol 346:366–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Shaw J, Fader GB, Taylor RB (2009) Submerged early Holocene coastal and terrestrial landforms on the inner shelves of Atlantic Canada. Quat Int 206:24–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Smith DE, Harrison S, Firth CR, Jordan JT (2011) The early Holocene sea level rise. Quat Sci Rev 30:1846–1860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Stanley DJ, Warne AG (1994) Worldwide initiation of Holocene marine deltas by deceleration of sea-level rise. Science 265:228–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Storms JEA, Weltje GJ, van Dijke JJ, Geel CR, Kroonenberg SB (2002) Process response modelling of wave-dominated coastal systems: simulating evolution and stratigraphy on geological timescales. J Sediment Res 72:226–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Storms JEA, Weltje GJ, Terra GJ, Cattaneo A, Trincardi F (2008) Coastal dynamics under conditions of rapid sea-level rise: Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene evolution of barrier-lagoon systems on the northern Adriatic shelf (Italy). Quat Sci Rev 27:1107–1123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Swift DJP (1968) Coastal erosion and transgressive stratigraphy. J Geol 76:444–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Swift DJP, Moslow TF (1982) Holocene transgression in south-central Long Island, New York; discussion. J Sediment Res 52:1014–1019Google Scholar
  79. Swift DJP, Phillips S, Thorne JA (1991) Sedimentation on continental margins, V: parasequences. In: Swift DJP, Oertel GF, Tillman RW, Thorne JA (eds) Shelf sand and sandstone bodies—geometry. Facies and sequence stratigraphy. International Association of Sedimentologists Special Publication 14, pp 153–187Google Scholar
  80. Tamura T (2012) Beach ridges and prograded beach deposits as palaeoenvironment records. Earth Sci Rev 114(3–4):279–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Thanh TD, Saito Y, Huy DV, Nguyen VL, Oanh TKO, Tateishi M (2004) Regimes of human and climate impacts on coastal changes in Vietnam. Reg Environ Chang 4:49–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Tornqvist TE, Hijma MP (2012) Links between early Holocene ice-sheet decay, sea-level rise and abrupt climate change. Nat Geosci 5:601–606CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Williams JJ, Ruiz de Alegría-Arzaburu A, McCall RT, Van Dongeren A (2012) Modelling gravel barrier profile response to combined waves and tides using XBeach: laboratory and field results. Coast Eng 63:62–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Wright LD, Thom BG (1977) Coastal depositional landforms: a morphodynamic approach. Prog Phys Geogr 1:412–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Yang B, Dalrymple RW, Chun S, Lee H (2006) Transgressive sedimentation and stratigraphic evolution of a wave-dominated macrotidal coast, western Korea. Mar Geol 235:35–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.British Geological Survey, The Lyell CentreResearch Avenue South, EdinburghUK
  2. 2.School of Environmental Sciences, University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations