A Coast for All Seasons

A Naturalistís Guide to the Coast of South Carolina


Miles O. Hayes and Jacqueline Michel

Pandion Books

Columbia, South Carolina



††††††††††† The coastal geology of South Carolina is complex, formed by the combined processes of sea level rise, sediment supply, waves, and tides. The presentation consists of two parts. Part I describes the general processes and landforms of the coast, explaining the history of how the South Carolina coast evolved and how processes such as waves, tides, sediment supply, and sea level rise have combined to produce the modern coastal features such as barrier islands, deltas, estuaries, tidal flats, and salt marshes. We include discussion of the impacts of hurricanes, changes in sediment supply that are both natural and man-made, the beach cycle, and methods to control erosion. Part II describes in more detail the coastal geomorphology of each of four compartments:the Grand Strand; the Delta Region; the Barrier Islands; and the Low Country. Explanations are provided for key features of the coast such as Carolina bays, capes, barrier islands, and tidal inlets. The presenters, two coastal geologists, who have 35 years of experience conducting scientific research on the coast, tell their story of discovery and fascination through engaging conversation, richly illustrated original diagrams, aerial photographs, and satellite imagery that paints a truly complete picture of a complex topic rarely so smoothly distilled from the scientific literature.

Dr. Miles O. Hayes

Dr. Miles O. Hayes is a coastal geomorphologist and sedimentologist with 50 years of research experience. He has authored more than 250 articles and reports and three books on a range of topics relating to tidal hydraulics, river morphology and processes, beach erosion, barrier island morphology, oil pollution, and petroleum exploration.

Based on extensive field experience throughout the world, he has developed innovative techniques regarding environmental protection, oil-spill response and shoreline processes. Three of the original concepts proposed and developed by Hayes are: 1) importance of hurricanes to barrier island and nearshore shelf sedimentation; 2) the effect of tides on shoreline morphology and sedimentation patterns; and 3) the environmental sensitivity index (ESI) for mapping shorelines (with co-author Michel), which has been applied worldwide.

Hayes' teaching experience includes a range of both undergraduate and graduate courses while a Professor at the Universities of Massachusetts and South Carolina. Seventy-two graduate students received their degrees under his supervision, most of whom are now leaders in their respective academic, government and industry positions. He is presently chairman of the Board of Research Planning, Inc. (RPI), a science technology company located in Columbia, S.C.

Dr. Jacqueline Michel

Dr. Jacqueline Michel is an internationally recognized expert in oil and hazardous materials spill response and assessment with a primary focus in the areas of oil fates and effects, non-floating oils, shoreline cleanup, alternative response technologies and natural resource damage assessment. She has participated in research projects in 33 countries.

Since 1982, she has been a member of the Scientific Support Team to the U.S. Coast Guard provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Under this role, she is on 24-hour call and provides technical support for an average of 50 spill events per year. She leads shoreline assessment teams and assists in selecting cleanup methods to minimize the environmental impacts of the spill.

She has written more than 150 manuals, reports, and scientific papers on coastal resource impacts, mapping and protection. As a member of the Ocean Studies Board at the National Academy of Sciences for four years, she served on four National Research Council committees (chairing two), and is a Lifetime Associate of the National Academies. One of the original founders of RPI, which started in 1977, she now serves as the company president.