Friday, March 22, 2019

Geology of the National Parks Through Pictures - Canaveral National Seashore

My next post about the Geology of the National Parks Through Pictures is about a park visited a long time ago.

You can find more Geology of the National Parks Through Pictures as well as my Geological State Symbols Across America series at my website


Back a long time ago during a Spring Break trip of 2003, my girlfriend (at the time) and I hit up the Canaveral National Seashore. And although the pictures taken at the time weren't geologically inclined, there is still geology that abounds. The seashore is made up of several geological features, mainly a barrier island beach and the sheltered lagoon, which provides an safe space for the wildlife in the region, properly termed an estuary. 

The barrier island, as seen here with me attempting to enter the Atlantic Ocean, is a protective sand beach environment that breaks up the waves before they can hit the mainland. This beach, detached from the mainland, is created by the inward movement of the waves interacting with the outward movement of the waves, also known as the riptide. At this location where the waves interact, the ability of the water to carry sediment out to sea is reduced and the sand drops to the ocean floor. Over time this sand piles up, eventually becoming an island strip that acts as a barrier to the ocean waves and provides a safe and quiet lagoon between the island and the mainland. Canaveral National Seashore provides 24 miles of undeveloped beach, the longest continuous stretch in all of eastern Florida.

Although not directly geological, as a paleontologist I am also a biologist at heart and so the ecology, the fauna, and the flora of different parks also interests me. Here we have several instances of the fauna of the park with the first being an armadillo. We actually encountered quite a few of these guys, much more than I had ever seen before or since.

Checking out the beach at night allowed me to find some crabs scuttling along.

And some of my favorite wildlife, the manatees. The lagoon provides a perfect habitat for them, protecting them from the strong ocean waves and providing them with a redible supply of food.

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