Mentor: Dr. Don Barber
Global sea level has been thought to be consistently rising for the past 20,000 years. Recently, new technology and research has indicated to scientists that sea level has fell approximately three times since the Last Glacial Maximum, and risen from each fall. I am researching this concept of sea level dropping by determining the formation of a series of ridges on Cedar Island, located in the Outer Banks in North Carolina. To study the history of these ridges, I am working with three sediment cores that my advisor, Don Barber, took in 2005 on a ridge in the middle of the 19 sequential ridge construction. Some of the experiments that I have run on the cores include making observations of all the samples from each part of the core, and diagramming my results. Also for each sample I am wet sieving for particle size analysis, and performing loss on ignition to determine the percentage of organic matter in each section of the core. For the deepest samples, I selected material that I thought could be radio carbon dated to determine approximate ages for the cores. These tests, and hopefully some field work taking more sediment cores, will aid me in constructing images of how each ridge was created, depositional environments, and overall how the ridges formed. By determining the order of formation of the sequential ridges, I will be able to see whether sea level was rising or falling during the time period of the creation of the ridges. Through this study, I will contribute research to other pieces of global data that attempts to determine the progression of sea level over the past 20,000 years.