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Bluff Erosion - Calvert Cliffs, Maryland

Calvert Cliffs, along the Patuxent River in Maryland, provide a natural experiment in patterns and rates of hill-slope evolution and shoreline movement of coastal landforms. USGS studies in these processes have documented decadal to centennial-scale development of several landform types: a cuspate foreland that has migrated downdrift along the shoreline for at least 1,700 years; a prograding spit sequence deposited since Colonial land clearance began around 400 years ago; and modern harbor structures that altered adjacent erosion and deposition patterns. These studies indicate that slope stability naturally occurs in about one century and that installation of harbor structures may accelerate this process by decades.

Relevant publications:


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