Earth has 657 more barrier islands than previously thought, announced two geologists, Orrin Pilkey (Professor of Geology at Duke University) and Matthew Stutz (Assistant Professor of Geosciences at Meredith College). They conducted a global survey of barrier islands using satellite images, navigational charts, and topographical maps published in the current issue of the Journal of Coastal Research.
The geologists’ discovery include barrier islands off the coast of Columbia, Brazil, Siberia, Alaska, and Canada’s Arctic. Barrier islands are often a chain of long, low, narrow offshore deposits of sand and sediment that run parallel to the coast line and are divided by lagoons, bays, and estuaries. The islands serve a unique role in the ecosystem, protecting low-lying mainland coasts against erosion, protecting storm damage, and providing important wildlife habitats. These islands are two to 4,000 years old. However, many of the islands will soon be threatened by the rising sea levels that have come with climate change.
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Sachiye Day, VERTICES intern. firstname.lastname@example.org