Northeastern Section - 57th Annual Meeting - 2022

Paper No. 25-7
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM


EPSTEIN, Samuel, 173 Beach 134th St, Rockaway Park, NY 11694 and EPSTEIN, Peggy, 173 Beach 134th St, 11694, NY 11694

The Rockaway Peninsula Peritidal complex is located on the coastal plain of Queens, New York and experienced a major Super Storm (Sandy) in 2012, which resulted in billions of dollars of damage. the Peninsula is a classic barrier bar, typical of the South Shore of Long Island , sitting above glacial outwash gravel deposited after the Young Dryas, 11000–13000 years ago, also marking the beginning of a major sea level rise 384 feet (117 m), stabilizing some 5000 years ago.

In 2013, a panel assembled by New York City Mayor Bloomberg, to study and predict future effects of climate changes with respect to potential sea level rise associated with the increasing frequency of category 4 and 5 North Atlantic Ocean storms. The study concluded the Rockaway Peninsula is in a 100 and 500 year flood zone, with a potential rise of sea level of 31 inches (78.7 cm) from 2000 to the 2050's. Our previous study of quantifying eustatic sea level rises in the geologic record published in the 2007 Journal of Carbonates and Evaporites, focused on the tectonically stable low subsidence areas of the Bahamas and Florida demonstrate comparable rates of historical sea level change in aggradational carbonate rocks, sensitive to growth in the photic zone, of 6 inches (15cm) per 50 years. The NYC Climate Report also predicted storm surge sea level rises of up to 17 feet (5.18 m) by the 2050's. New construction on the Peninsula requires 10 feet (3.05 m) of elevation above street level.

Our field observations after Super Storm Sandy demonstrate cross-bedding in dunes and dune destruction at Rockaway Point, the most easterly point on the peninsula located at the mouth of NY Harbor. Cross beds are a primary depositional feature in ancient dune sandstones.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has constructed (2017) a dune field paralleling the coastline, and a series of sizeable 200 feet (60.96 m), metamorphic rock groins to baffle the transportation capabilities of the eastward flowing longshore currents and direct oceanic waves constituting the primary storm surge force. The major coastal management project implemented by the recommendations of coastal scientists is serving as a point of reference of which future studies can be evaluated.

  • Coastal Processes GSA 2022 - Copy.pptx (37.6 MB)