0000-0002-6492-2077 (Wallace)

Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Marine Geology




107303 (1-17)


Texas receives the second-highest number of tropical cyclone (TC) landfalls per year in the United States. At present, long-term TC projections from climate models remain uncertain due to the short and biased nature of Atlantic TC observations. Sediment archives of past storms can help extend the observational record of TC strikes over the past few millennia. When a TC makes landfall along the central Texas coast, coastal downwelling channels and storm currents transport and deposit coarse sediment to a zone of rapid accumulation along the shelf, known as the Texas Mud Blanket (TMB). This “backwash” process results in expansive storm deposits along the shelf, making this region ideal for paleotempestological reconstructions. Here, we present two sediment cores, located approximately 6 km southeast of Matagorda Island (TX), that collectively yield a ∼4500-year paleohurricane record. 210Pb and 137Cs are utilized in conjunction with radiocarbon ages to produce high-resolution Bayesian age models. One-centimeter interval grain size analyses are used to identify TC deposits. Two-centimeter interval X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) is used as an additional measure to verify depositional mechanisms in this shelf environment. We define an intense paleohurricane event threshold through statistical analysis of mean grain size data. The sediment-derived TC record is correlated to Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) data from Paleo Hydrodynamics Data Assimilation (PHYDA) to bolster our interpretation of the TC record, revealing a coupled relationship between PDSI and TCs since ∼300 yr BP. Over the ∼4500-year period, 24 intense TCs were recorded in the sediment record, yielding a long-term annual landfall probability of ∼0.53%. Additionally, comparisons between other TC records within the Atlantic establish a relationship between enhanced TC activity in the Western Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and TCs formed in the Caribbean Sea.


© 2024 The Authors.

This is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.

Data Availability

Article states: "Grain size, x-ray fluorescence, and short-lived isotope data for cores used in this study are available at Zenodo via https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10606482 with Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International open access conditions (Monica et al., 2024)."

Original Publication Citation

Monica, S. B., Wallace, D. J., Wallace, E. J., Du, X., Dee, S. G., & Anderson, J. B. (2024). 4500-year paleohurricane record from the Western Gulf of Mexico, Coastal Central TX, USA. Marine Geology, 473, 1-17, Article 107303. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2024.107303


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