The Impact of Tropical Cyclones on the Geomorphic Evolution of Bolivar Peninsula, TX
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Annually, tropical cyclones do tremendous damage and are agents of long-term coastal change. To test this idea of different tropical cyclones delivering consistent coastal change, a landform with such evolution is needed. One such landform is a spit. What contributions do tropical cyclones give toward the evolution of a spit, and do tropical cyclones give the same kinds of impacts? To determine if tropical cyclones have similar impacts, shoreline and volumetric change from four storms impacting Bolivar Peninsula are considered. Being a southwest-trended spit at a length of 33.5 kilometers, storm impacts are measured in the form of one dimensional shoreline and two dimensional volumetric change. These impacts are abstracted into shoreline change and volumetric change patterns. These patterns are identified and compared for differences between each storm and similarity among all storms. Results indicate that shoreline accretionary zones vary alongshore. Results from Hurricane Ike indicate an accretionary zone ten kilometers from the distal end. Shoreline change patterns for Hurricane Rita show an unstable accretionary zone at four kilometers from the distal end. Results for Tropical Storm Fay indicate an unstable accretionary zone that begins at the distal end and continues to the middle of the spit. In terms of similarity for shoreline change, all patterns from storms demonstrated erosion near Rollover Fish Pass. One dimensional volumetric change patterns were entirely erosive for Hurricanes Rita and Ike, and Tropical Storm Fay had by small zones of accretion near the distal portion of the spit. Tropical Storm Josephine demonstrated an accretion zone between the middle and distal portion of the spit. Results from two dimensional volumetric change patterns suggest a threshold for inland penetration. Tropical Storm Fay showed a ten to twenty meter wide pattern of erosion around five kilometers from the distal end and near the proximal end of the spit, and Hurricane Rita demonstrated a twenty meter wide pattern of erosion near the distal end. Hurricane Ike had erosive penetration of up to 200 meters around fifteen kilometers from the distal end. Results suggest that certain storms reinforce the standard spit growth model, and others work against it.
Tropical Storm Fay
Tropical Storm Josephine
Tropical Storm, Hurricane
Hales, Billy (2012). The Impact of Tropical Cyclones on the Geomorphic Evolution of Bolivar Peninsula, TX. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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