USGS - science for a changing world

Geology and National Parks


Geology, Minerals, Energy and Geophysics Science Center home

The information found here reflects completed USGS work. The content of this page is static and has not been updated since the mid 2000's.

National Park Research: Coastal Processes

Barrier Islands

Barrier Islands are composed of beach, dune, marsh/barrier flats, sheltered body of water, and similarly sheltered, flat coast, among other possible bits and pieces. They are generally formed in areas with a surplus of sediment and a current that pulls the sand into one place, or accretes it. Barrier Islands act as a buffer zone, protecting the shoreline from waves, ocean currents and the forces of storms. Below is a simplified cross section of a barrier island. Click on an area, or one of the terms above, that interests you in order to find out more about the system in general and which parks have research on those processes.

Cross-section of beack sandy beachdunewetlandslagoonwetlands flat coast

National Parks with Barrier Islands:

Return to Coastal Processes Home

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: G & G Webmasters
Page Last Modified: 21-Apr-2017@16:35