Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
College of Science
Dr. Zhixiong Shen
Major hurricanes have geomorphic and stratigraphic impacts in coast environments that can be used to identify and characterize the storms. One of the approaches to identify storm impact is by studying assemblage of foraminifera, small organisms that live primarily in marine environments with some species living in marshes, in coastal marshes or ponds, with the assumption that storm-induced overwash flooding brings marine species ashore. Hurricane Michael made landfall ~40 km northwest of St Vincent Island (SVI), Florida, on October 10, 2018, as a Category 5 storm. The storm surge of Michael inundated a large part of SVI, which offers a rare opportunity to investigate foraminifera assemblage of overwash deposits caused by an extremely powerful landfalling hurricane. In this study, samples from a sediment core taken from a marsh pond in SVI were analyzed for foraminifera assemblage. The analysis focuses on core top sediment interpreted as the Michael event layer, additional deeper sandy layers similar in grain size to the core top sediments, and clayey pond deposits. The core top sediment contained a higher abundance of foraminifera tests including Ammonia spp. and Elphidium spp. that can be traced to the bay east of SVI in comparison to the clayey pond deposits with little to no representation of forams in the deeper depths. This suggests that foraminiferal assemblage in the pond sediment may complement grain-size analysis for paleo tempestite identification in SVI, but only for the relatively recent events. At deeper depths the preservation is poor, resulting in the destruction of forams.
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Washington, Kayla, "Using foraminifera to identify overwash deposits in St Vincent Island, Florida in the wake of Hurricane Michael" (2020). Honors Theses. 376.