Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


OBRINGER, Andrew and FIESLER, Nicholas, Department of Geoscience, Edinboro University, 219 Meadville Street, Edinboro, PA 16412,

The objectives of this study were to develop a Geographical Information System (GIS) database for Presque Isle, to derive landform/land cover maps from that data, and to examine spatial and temporal relationships between geologic, biotic, and human influences. The database includes digital elevation from state lidar data, color and historic aerial photography, and anthropogenic features such as roads and trails. The construction of digital elevation models (DEMs) permits the delineation of major landforms and geologic environments, while aerial photography permits the construction of land cover/use maps.

On Presque Isle, wind-blown sand accumulated as a series of high dune ridges that parallel exposed beaches. Color classified DEMs clearly delineate modern and ancient beach, dune, and inland wetland/water systems. The resulting images illustrate the geologic evolution of Presque Isle, with younger beach and dune ridges crosscutting older landforms. Aerial photography was used to develop land cover categories, including forest, managed lands, wetlands/inland waters, and active beach, which were verified in the field.

Anthropogenic and biotic associations were observed between land cover/use and landforms. For example, human infrastructure tends to occur along ancient beach and dune ridges, as do forests, as these areas are better drained. Stabilization efforts during the 1800’s introduced many of the tree species presently found on Presque Isle. Ancient dune and beach ridges provide a platform for these introduced and native species’ propagation and succession. Natural and anthropogenic forces have also influenced growth rates of Presque Isle’s terminus at Gull Point. Beach nourishment efforts accelerated growth (starting in 1955), while later breakwater installation (1992) curbed accretion rates. Sediment volumetric data derived from DEMs of Gull Point provide a means to further investigate sediment transport rates along Presque Isle.