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Office of Research

Information for Researchers

Coastal Marine Geology

Coastal marine geologic research focuses on the geologic processes operating in the transition between land and sea. In the coastal zone, we find the interaction of intensive human occupation and natural forces, such as storms, sea-level rise, and shore erosion. Human use of the coastal zone creates secondary concerns, such as saltwater intrusion of coastal groundwater, hardening of shorelines, depletion of sand resources, and degradation of wetlands. Global change and the inexorable rise of sea level have their main effects in coastal areas. The potential hazards that result from these interactions must be understood, quantified and mitigated. Research in coastal marine geology is by nature interdisciplinary, encompassing a wide variety of fields within the earth sciences. Included are: sediment transport, especially in beaches, shallow seas, rivers, lakes, and dunes; evolution of shoreline geomorphology during Recent and late Quaternary time; coastal morphodynamic modeling; impacts and forecasts of coastal storms; coastal groundwater modeling; measurement and forecasts of beach erosion; coastal wetland modeling; sea-level fluctuations and global climate change; sedimentology and stratigraphy of modern and ancient depositional environments; nearshore and marine micropaleontology; and applications of stable and radioisotope geochemistry to sedimentary deposits.