Southeastern Section - 60th Annual Meeting (23–25 March 2011)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 10:20 AM


STOCKS Jr, Lee, Department of Geology and Geography, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, PO Box 1510, Pembroke, NC 28372,

Carolina Bays are geomorphic surface features which are largely elliptical with long axes trending in a general northwest-southeast direction, found in the Atlantic Coastal Plains from Florida to New Jersey. They are generally depressed several feet with raised eolian sand rims found on the southeast side. The vast number in the Carolinas has led to the popularization of the name. At present, multiple genesis hypotheses attempt to explain the origin of these odd, sinkhole-like features. These range from extraterrestrial meteor collisions to wind and wave action forming erosive currents that create the distinctive elliptical shapes. Theories attempt to account for this uniform orientation, as well as varying sizes, distribution, ages, soils, vegetation and geology. Sizes range from a few thousand square meters to several square kilometers and can cover 50-60% of the land surface area in some quadrangles, with overlapping and truncation being common.

Missing from the literature is a concise method for mapping these features using modern high-resolution datasets in a spatial framework. In this study a geographic and spatial analysis is performed using multiple layers to explore the best data and method for mapping Carolina Bays within the USGS 1:24,000 Raeford, North Carolina Quadrangle. Derived from this case study are quantity, distribution, area, length, width, ellipticity, and orientation of mapped Carolina Bays for future spatial and morphometric exploration.