Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

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

Barrier Island Formation and Development Modes

  • Ervin G. Otvos
Living reference work entry

Later version available View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48657-4_362-2

Barrier Island Definition

Barrier islands are shore-parallel, wave-constructed, usually elongated nearshore landforms, surrounded at the time of their formation on all sides by subtidal water bodies and often capped by eolian supratidal beds. However, lagoons in the rear of high mesotidal barriers may completely drain at low tide (e.g., certain Frisian Islands on the North Sea). Passes (inlets) flank barriers and link lagoonal backbarrier basins to the open sea. Facing high wave energy and salinity condition on the ocean side, the islands act as barriers that protect low-energy brackish lagoons and bays associated with nutrient-rich muddy deposits in their rear. Wetlands may subsequently fill the shallow lagoons. Traditional and proper barrier island definitions (e.g., Price 1951; Oertel 1985) exclude strand plains that directly front wetland-covered delta plains, at sites where subtidal lagoonal-bay basins never existed between ridge plains and marshy delta plains landward....

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Coastal SciencesUniversity of Southern MississippiOcean SpringsUSA