K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Hurricanes on sandy shorelines: Lessons for development
A Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations “virtual field trip” that examines the sand sharing system of sedimentary coastlines and the impact of hurricanes on those coastlines and on human development.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)
Living in a salt marsh
In Hurricanes on sandy shorelines: Lessons for development, page 18
Figure 15 shows an extreme example of siting a house as far as possible from the beachfront. This one appears to be built mostly on the salt marsh on the landward side of the island. It survived Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd without a scratch, but storm surges...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Hurricanes and coastal development
In Hurricanes on sandy shorelines: Lessons for development, page 1
North Carolina's location at the eastern end of the southeastern U.S. coastline makes it a frequent site of hurricane landfalls. These landfalls are a regular feature of the state's climate, as they are a natural outcome of the its proximity to the most frequent...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Dune erosion on Oak Island (1)
In Hurricanes on sandy shorelines: Lessons for development, page 11
Shoreface construction on southeastern barrier islands rarely fares well when hurricanes make landfall over them. Figure 8 shows how this generalization played out on Oak Island during Hurricane Floyd. The houses were behind a small primary dune before the...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Beachfront mansion
In Small sand volume barrier islands: Environmental processes and development risks, page 15
Figure 13 shows a recently built beachfront mansion on the even more recently flattened topography of North Topsail. Note the tilted beach access steps indicative of damage from Hurricanes Dennis and/or Floyd in 1999. Note also the corner iron for the lot...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
An eroded dune
In Evidence of rising sea level: Coastal erosion and plant community changes, page 4
Figure 3 shows an eroded dune in front of a beachfront condominium project. As in the case of the house in Figure 2, this beach and dune eroded rapidly during Hurricanes Bonnie and Fran, but rising sea level played a role by bringing the sea up to a level...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Dune erosion on Bear Island
In Hurricanes on sandy shorelines: Lessons for development, page 10
Figure 7 shows that not all of the barrier islands are flattened when hurricanes make landfall over them. This photograph shows the beach and seawardmost dunes of Bear Island after five hurricanes battered them in two years. The remnants of dead maritime thicket...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Small sand volume barrier islands: Environmental processes and development risks
This Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations “virtual field trip” explores the nature and structure of barrier islands with small sand volume, on which built structures are highly susceptible to damage from hurricanes.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)
Effects of Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd in North Carolina
 Effects of Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd in North Carolina
The two images in the top row of this SeaWiFS timeline show North Carolina's estuaries before either of the two hurricanes came through. The three images in the bottom row show the estuaries after the hurricanes. The two smaller images at the upper left give...
Format: image/photograph
East end of Bear Island
In Large sand volume barrier islands: Environmental processes and development risks, page 11
Figure 10 shows the low dunes and beachfront at the east end of Bear Island. The dunes here have been destroyed by a combination of hurricane winds, storm surge and waves. It is clear from the numerous stumps and dead trunks that this was not a beach in the...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Dune restoration
In Large sand volume barrier islands: Environmental processes and development risks, page 16
Figure 15 shows the seaward dune on Bogue Banks in the aftermath of Hurricane Fran and the winter storms of 1998. As we saw on Bear Island, there is no level of sand volume or vegetation coverage sufficient to render seaward dunes immune from storm erosion....
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Figure Eight Island
In Hurricanes on sandy shorelines: Lessons for development, page 17
We now turn our attention to Figure Eight Island, a privately owned island about 25 miles north of Oak Island and Hurricane Floyd's landfall. Although Figure Eight Island was not the site of hurricane landfall in 1999, it was in the sector of Hurricane Floyd...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Beachfront erosion
In Large sand volume barrier islands: Environmental processes and development risks, page 17
Figure 16 shows another example of beachfront erosion. This house has fallen victim to a repositioning of Bogue Inlet as a result of Hurricanes Bonnie and Fran in 1996. The inlet between Bear Island and Bogue Bank had once been located here, but during a 20-year...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Hurricane storm surges in North Carolina
In Hurricanes on sandy shorelines: Lessons for development, page 6
Figure 3 shows the bottom of the exhibit shown in Figure 2 and provides data on recent hurricanes in North Carolina. Those shown are four of the storms of the 1990s but do not include Dennis and Floyd in 1999, both of which occurred just weeks before the...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Living near the beachfront
In Hurricanes on sandy shorelines: Lessons for development, page 22
Figure 19 shows a well-constructed house sited on a low beachfront lot. As on Oak Island, this lot was overwashed by Hurricane Floyd's storm surge and surface waves. This house withstood this onslaught as well as any beachfront property could be expected to,...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Waves and erosion
In Evidence of rising sea level: Coastal erosion and plant community changes, page 5
Figure 4 shows that rising sea level brings the eroding power of waves to the sound side of barrier islands as well as to the ocean side. Here we see the steep and collapsing face of an old beach ridge along the Roosevelt Nature Trail on the sound side of...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
The Bermuda High and tropical storms
The Bermuda High pressure system sits over the Atlantic during summer. Acting as a block that hurricanes cannot penetrate, the size and location of this system can determine where hurricanes go. A normal Bermuda High often leads to hurricanes moving up the...
Format: video
How do hurricanes form?
In Hurricanes on sandy shorelines: Lessons for development, page 2
Hurricanes begin when areas of low atmospheric pressure move off Africa and into the Atlantic, where they grow and intensify in the moisture-laden air above the warm tropical ocean. Air moves toward these atmospheric lows from all directions and curves to...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Undeveloped sand ridge
In Small sand volume barrier islands: Environmental processes and development risks, page 17
Figure 15 shows an undeveloped sand ridge in the salt marsh behind Topsail Beach. As you can see, these ridges are not much above sea level, but the presence of live oak trees shows that the areas are not flooded frequently. However, there most assuredly are...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Evidence of rising sea level: Coastal erosion and plant community changes
A Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations “virtual field trip” that examines the causes and effects of changes in sea level, both short-term (as a result of storms) and long-term (as a result of climate change).
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)