Title page for ETD etd-04142009-160434


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Huang, Yun
Author's Email Address yhuang1@tigers.lsu.edu
URN etd-04142009-160434
Title Sediment Records of Modern and Prehistoric Hurricane Strikes in Weeks Bay, Alabama
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kam-Biu Liu Committee Chair
Nina Lam Committee Member
Robert V. Rohli Committee Member
Keywords
  • paleotempestology
  • storm deposits
  • marsh sediment
  • Weeks Bay
Date of Defense 2009-04-02
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This study aims to find modern and prehistoric hurricane records in sediment from marsh and swamp forest surrounding Weeks. Hurricane Ivan made landfall in this area at category 3 intensity in 2004. Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Frederic also seriously affected this region in 2005 and 1979, respectively.

Seventy two cores were taken from marshes, swamps, and bay bottom. The cores, taken from baymouth marsh, contain a prominent Ivan sand layer, and possibly a prominent Frederic sand layer as well. For those cores taken from the marshes and swamps around the eastern, western, and northern Weeks Bay, there is no distinct sand layer at the top that could be attributed to Hurricane Ivan, Katrina, or Frederic. However, a distinct mud or clay layer, probably representing the storm deposit left by Ivan, was found at the top of many of these cores except those from the northern and eastern swamps forest. Hurricane Katrina may have left a marker in sediments of the Weeks Bay region. However, Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina’s signatures in these cores are not individually distinguishable because of the short time interval between them and the slow sedimentation rate.

Overall, the occurrence of the Ivan storm deposit is spatially variable in different places around Weeks Bay. Research results show that sediment supply and sediment transport mechanism are important factors affecting the nature and strength of the proxy signal in the paleohurricane records. The temporal analysis of past catastrophic hurricanes from core WB 3-1 and WB 06-9 shows that four periods with different frequencies of major hurricane activities exist. Due to the limited dating control and the complexity of the depositional environment around Weeks Bay, it is premature to evaluate these frequent estimates in the context of chronological pattern of paleohurricane activity derived from other Gulf Coast lakes and marshes. Better dating control and more data on environment changes in Weeks Bay are needed to further test the Bermuda High hypothesis.

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