Sunday, December 06, 2015

Ebey's Landing

Ebey's Landing lies below a low spot on the bluff on the west edge of Ebey's Prairie, a little west of Coupeville. The road drops down to a stretch of broad backshore terrace where the original pier had been built (it's a pretty exposed location for a pier). It's now a popular taking off spot for beach hikes, including the classic loop to the north.

I've posted about Ebey's Landing before on Gravel Beach, but here's one from my other blog (hshipman).


I mentioned in the previous post that the beach along this reach often diverges from the bluff. Here, the beach has filled in a curve in the coastline, creating a fairly wide low area. A little farther north of here, the beach takes an even wider excursion seaward of the original bluff line, creating mile-long Perego's Lagoon (next post).

Ebey's Prairie is a good place to think about the last stages of the Vashon glacier. Glacial marine drift, exposed in the upper portions of bluffs near here, records sediment deposited immediately after the ice left and marine water reoccupied the area. What you don't see without LIDAR or perhaps, really good low-light conditions, is the old strandlines that follow contours around Ebey's Prairie, marking the rapid retreat of the sea as glacial rebound returned Whidbey to its preglacial elevations. Imagery shows dozens of faint shoreline traces on the gradual slopes of the prairie.

Something you can definitely see, looking north along the top of the bluffs, is the dunes perched above the bluff itself. They are stable and largely forested now, but indicate conditions when wind blowing over the Strait carried fine sand up the bluffs and deposited it above the crest. Not surprisingly, these bluff-top dunes are called perched dunes and can be found elsewhere on the northwest side of Whidbey (West Beach 2012), on Protection Island farther west along the Strait, and on Lake Superior (Grand Sable Dunes 2010), among other places.

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