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USGS Geology in the Parks

Sand Dunes - Coastal

Dune formation

Sand dunes form wherever environmental conditions provide sand, steady wind and a location for the sand to collect. This may occur in both coastal and terrestrial settings.

Coastal Dunes

Sand starts as bedrock, which is broken down into blocks, a size at which water is able to transport them downstream. Eventually these large blocks may be jostled around enough to be broken into sand-sized grains. Sand and other sediment usually ends up deposited along the sides of streams, in lakes, or in the ocean.

There are many examples of coastal dune fields within the National Park Service system. Listed below are Parks containing coastal dunes. Click here to learn more about dune formation and coastal systems.

Coastal Dunes - Ocean and Lake

Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland

Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland

The impact of horse grazing on the dunes at Assateague - USGS Open-File

Canaveral National Seashore, Florida

Canaveral National Seashore, Florida

Canaveral Coastal Geology - NPS site

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusettes

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusettes

Cape Cod Geology - Sandy Hook and the Sea: USGS publication

Cape Cod Geology - NPS site

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina

Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina

Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina

Short page on Barrier Island Geology - NPS site

Fire Island National Seashore, New York

Fire Island National Seashore, New York

Geology of Fire Island - NPS site

Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida, Mississippi

Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida, Mississippi

Gulf Islands Geology - NPS site

Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

Padre Island Geology - NPS site

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Pictured Rocks Grand Sable Dunes Geology - NPS site

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

Geology of Sleeping Bear Dunes - NPS site

 

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