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Inner-Shelf-Mapping Cruise off Northern North Carolina Outer Banks

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The WHFC conducted an inner-shelf-mapping cruise off northern North Carolina Outer Banks aboard the M/V Atlantic Surveyor from October 6-27, 1999. The scientific party included Rob Thieler, VeeAnn Cross, Dave Foster, Barry Irwin, Dave Nichols, Tom O'Brien, Chris Polloni, and Glynn Williams (WHFC). The cruise featured the debut of a new seagoing data-processing van, which has a 1-Gigabit fiber-optic link to the acquisition systems, and a new Hypack-based navigation system. The new van reduced mobilization time and helped get the cruise going quickly. It has also allowed us to bring along more advanced processing equipment and to generate fully processed and mosaicked sidescan data while underway. The cruise suffered from considerable bad weather, including the passage of Hurricane Irene and the first of the fall Nor'easters.

The sidescan-sonar, CHIRP, and boomer data are being used to examine the geologic framework of the inner shelf from Virginia Beach, VA, to Oregon Inlet, NC, and its influence on different spatial and temporal scales of coastal evolution. One immediate application is comparing the bathymetry and shallow geologic-framework data to storm-response data collected by Jeff List's (WHFC) SWASH beach surveys during and following the Sandy Duck experiment at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility.

Preliminary amino acid-racemization data from shells collected during grab sampling suggest specific inner-shelf source areas for sediment that comprises the modern beach. Linking these data with ongoing beach shell age-mixing studies at the University of Delaware and East Carolina University should provide insight into the direction and potential magnitude of inner-shelf sediment transport in the region.

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