Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas


Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas, a book by Blair and Dawn Witherington

Excerpts from Pineapple Press Publishing

Georgia and the Carolinas beckon curious beachcombers with over 600 miles of wave-swept Atlantic coastline. These beaches offer more than a sandy stroll amidst stunning scenery, they are alive!

As ever-changing ribbons of sand, these beaches foster unique life forms and accept beguiling castaways from a vast marine wilderness. Mysteries abound. What is this odd creature? Why does the beach look this way? How did this strange item get here?

Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas satisfies a beachcomber’s curiosity within a comprehensive yet easily browsed guide covering beach processes, plants, animals, minerals, and manmade objects. The guide is written in a familiar style and is illustrated with hundreds of distribution maps and over a thousand color photos.

The book follows a previous work on Florida’s Living Beaches, A Guide for the Curious Beachcombers

About the authors:
Blair and Dawn Witherington are professional naturalists. Blair is a research scientist with the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. He has a B.A. and Masters degree in biology from the University of Central Florida and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Florida. He has contributed numerous scientific articles and book chapters on sea turtle biology and conservation. His books include an edited volume on the loggerhead sea turtle and a popular book on sea turtles.

Dawn is a graphic design artist and scientific illustrator trained at the Art Institutes of Colorado and Ft. Lauderdale. Her art and design are prominent in natural history books, posters, exhibits, and a line of sea-themed greeting cards. Together, Blair and Dawn have merged their art, writing, photography, and design in a number of projects.


Sinkhole Swallows South-East Queensland Beach

sinkhole beach
A giant sinkhole stretching one hundred metres gouges the shore at Inskip Point with stunned beachgoers watching as the sand just gave way. Image source: TEN TV Video / Brisbane Times


A sinkhole up to 100m long and 50m deep has opened up on a south-east Queensland beach.

The hole appeared at Inskip Point, Rainbow Beach, on Saturday night and continued to grow. It is estimated to be up to 50m deep…

Original Article and Video, from The Brisbane Times

Beach disappears into sink hole

Australia’s Ningaloo coast Gets Unesco’s World Heritage Listing

dinosaur footprints
Concrete cast of dinosaur footprints, over 130 million years old, at Gantheaume Point, Broome, Western Australia. There are six sets of prints, but they are under the water most of the tides. Photo source: ©© Lin Padgham


The Ningaloo coast in Western Australia covers 708,350 hectares of coastal waters and land, including one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world, and is home to rare wildlife including whale sharks and sea turtles. It’s an area of outstanding beauty and home to 13 threatened bird species, and is the latest sites to be added to the World Heritage List at the Unesco meeting this week in Paris.

At Gantheaume Point and 30 metres out to sea are dinosaur footprints believed to be from the Cretaceous Age approximately 130 million years ago. The tracks can be seen only during very low tide.

Read Original Article, ABC News Australia

Ningaloo Coast, Photos Source

“Why was the Ningaloo Coast included on the World Heritage List?” Australian Department of Sustainability and Environment

Ningaloo Coast, UNESCO

The Intertwined History of Coconuts And Ancient Seafarers

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


The impact of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera L.) on the history of human dispersal in the humid tropics is unparalleled in the plant kingdom.

The coconut’s domestication history and its population genetic structure relates to human dispersal patterns and is consistent with human introductions of Pacific coconuts along the ancient Austronesian trade route connecting Madagascar to Southeast Asia. Admixture in coastal east Africa may also reflect later historic Arab trading along the Indian Ocean coastline…

Read Science Daily Summary, Deep History of Coconuts Decoded

Read Original Study, in JournalPLoS ONE

Mississippi Flood Impacts on Gulf Of Mexico

Image acquired April 29, 2011. It shows the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain before the floods reached them. Even though the river plumes had not yet discharged the floods, they still carried plenty of sediment from normal spring rains and runoff. Image: created by Jesse Allen /NASA Earth Observatory

By Holli Riebeek, NASA Earth Observatory

The floods that surged through the Mississippi River basin are subsiding, but their impact is far from over. As the floodwaters swept over farms and towns in May and June 2011, they scoured fertilized soil from the ground and carried it downstream. Swollen rivers dumped thousands of tons of nutrients into the Gulf of Mexico, where they are forecast to cause a record “dead zone” this summer.

These images quantify the amount of nutrient-laden sediment flowing into the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain throughout May and into June 2011.

The highest sediment concentrations, around 400 milligrams per liter, are dark brown. Places where the sensor did not measure sediment (largely because of clouds) are dark gray, and land is pale gray. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made the maps by interpreting measurements from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite. Photo-like MODIS images show the mud spreading into the Gulf.

The first image above, from April 29, 2011, shows the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain before the floods reached them. Even though the river plumes had not yet discharged the floods, they still carried plenty of sediment from normal spring rains and runoff.

On May 9, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers began opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway to relieve pressure on levees along the fast-rising Mississippi River. By May 15, most of the bays in the spillway were open and diverting water into Lake Pontchartrain. The resulting plume of sediment is visible in the image below from May 17.

Though the plume is smaller than on April 29, it contains a much higher concentration of sediment.Image acquired May 17 2011. Image source: Jesse Allen /NASA Earth Observatory

This image also shows the first burst of sediment entering the Gulf of Mexico from the Atchafalaya River. The Old River Flood Control Structure in central Louisiana is used each year by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to redirect some of the flow from the Mississippi River to the Atchafalaya. This year on May 14, the Corps also began to divert water from the Mississippi through the Morganza Floodway. Whether from Old River or Morganza, the sediment-bearing flood waters reached the Gulf of Mexico on May 17. Though the plume is smaller than on April 29, it contains a much higher concentration of sediment.

Image acquired June 1st, 2011. By this time, the flow from the flood had slowed. The sediment plume in Lake Pontchartrain is smaller and less concentrated. In the Gulf of Mexico, however, the sediment has spread over a much wider area. Image source: Jesse Allen /NASA Earth Observatory

All of this sediment carries nutrients like iron and nitrogen from Midwestern and Southern U.S. farms into the Gulf of Mexico.

In May, an estimated 164,000 metric tons of nitrogen, 35 percent more than average, entered the Gulf, reported NOAA. These nutrients feed phytoplankton, which are anticipated to flourish in coming weeks.

When the plankton die, bacteria break them down, consuming oxygen in the process. Eventually, the decaying phytoplankton and gorging bacteria will sap much of the oxygen from the water, creating a dead zone where other marine life cannot survive. NOAA expects the Gulf of Mexico dead zone to reach between 8,500 and 9,421 square miles in 2011, which would make it the largest dead zone to develop since measurements began in 1985.

Original Article

Flooding to Cause Large Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, NOAA

Stiff Sediments Made 2004 Earthquake Deadliest in History

Kata Noi Receding Tsunami
Maximum recession of tsunami waters at Kata Noi Beach, Phuket, Thailand, before the 3rd, and strongest, tsunami wave (sea visible in the right corner. 26 December 2004). Receding tsunami waters at Kata Noi Beach. Caption and photo source: PHG


An international team of geoscientists has discovered an unusual geological formation that helps explain how an undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in December 2004 spawned the deadliest tsunami in recorded history…

Image source: USGS

Read Original Article, from University of Texas, in Science Daily

Islands Going Under, The Carteret Islands

The Carteret Islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea are drowning as a result of climate change related sea level rise.

The combined effects of sea level rise, erosion, storm surges and salinity of the soil, are making The Carteret inhabitable. For 30 years, the people of the islands have been fighting a losing battle to protect their island.

Rising sea levels have eroded much of the coastlines of the low lying Carteret islands, and waves have crashed over the lands flooding and destroying what little crop gardens the islanders have. Salt waters have contaminated their water supply as well.

Featured Photo: ©Greenpeace

A Greenpeace Video

75th Aftershock of Magnitude 6 or Higher, Hits Near Japan East Coast

Image source: NASA


A magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocked Japan today, the 75th aftershock of at least magnitude 6.0 from the devastating magnitude 9.0 quake on March 11, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Japan has been rocked by hundreds of aftershocks since the deadly 9.0 Tohoku earthquake, the biggest in Japan’s recorded history…

Read Original Article, By Our Amazing Planet

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake near the East coast of Honshu, Japan, USGS

The mission of the Santa Aguila Foundation is to raise awareness of and mobilize people against the ongoing decimation of coastlines around the world.

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