Date of Award

Summer 1970

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

J. P. Swift

Committee Member

J. C. Ludwick

Committee Member

H. G. Marshall

Committee Member

R. N. Parker

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35S26


The 2-fold purpose of this study is to calibrate a Rapid Sediment Analyzer and to use it to aid in the determination of the genesis of sediment on the inner continental shelf between Cape Henry and Cape Hatteras. Rapid Sediment Analyzer calibration was conducted by comparison of sieving and settling results of similar sands.

The study area was divided into sediment provinces by both a qualitative procedure (grain size and topography) and a quantitatively procedure (factor-vector analysis). Qualitative provinces are beach and surf, upper shore face, lower shore face, sea floor, and terminal shoals. The berm fines from each terminal cape toward the centrally located False Cape with an anomalous, coarse sector in the area of Nags Head. This berm pattern is thought to be partly inherited from the Pleistocene substrate and partly due to the modern hydraulic regime.

Seaward of the breakers the shore ac fines southward probably through increased winnowing of fines as wave height increases. In general, the wave-driven fractionation processes on the shore face are very officiant since all measured parameters vary systematically with depth.

On the sea floor a south and centrally located coarse sand is thought to be an unburied Pleistocene deposition. From Cape Henry to False Cape, the sea floor is coarse and well sorted and is probably due to a former hydraulic regime and land mass.

The northern terminal shoal off Cape Henry consists of medium-grained sand, and the southern terminal shoal (Diamond Shoals) consists of fine, well-sorted sand. In both cases the modern hydraulic regime is considered to be the cause of deposition.


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