Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2019 Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Barrier Island Landforms

  • Ilya V. Buynevich
  • Duncan M. FitzGeraldEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93806-6_367

Introduction

Coastal barriers are among the most dynamic landforms on Earth and the sites of some of the most beautiful beaches. These coastal accumulation forms are constructed by the combined action of waves, tides, and longshore currents as thin strips of land that build above sea level. They generally parallel the coast and gain vertical elevation through aeolian activity. They are called barriers because they protect the mainland coast and water bodies (backbarrier) from the direct forces of the sea, particularly during storms. They dampen the effects of storm waves, heightened tides, and salt spray. The bays, lagoons, marshes, and tidal creeks that form behind barriers provide safe harborages, nursery grounds for many marine organisms, and important sources of nutrients for coastal waters. Barriers occur in a variety of geomorphic settings but are most common where sediment supplies are abundant and hydrographic regime (wave and tidal forces) is conducive for onshore sand...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental ScienceTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Environment SciencesBoston UniversityBostonUSA