barrier island

Although barrier islands make up only ten to fifteen percent of the world’s shorelines, they are the most common coastal landforms on the East and Gulf coasts of the United States. Most are long and linear and associated with major embayments, but some—such as the Sea Island chain of Georgia and South Carolina—are shorter and squarer in shape. The Outer Banks of North Carolina illustrate a wealth of barrier island features—spits, beaches, marshes, lagoons, and inlets—and others, such as Texas’s Padre Island, are well-known refuges for resident and migratory birds. The most dynamic of all coastal systems, barrier islands constantly shift at the whim of wind and wave, in time actually rolling over upon themselves

Joy Williams