Saturday, November 25, 2017

Point Judith

Friday, two weeks ago, was a beautiful day for collecting beaches on Rhode Island's southern shore, west of Narragansett Bay. The stops were all short, partly because I had to cover a lot of ground and partly because the wind chill (low 30s, with strong northerly winds) kept hurrying me back to the car.

Point Judith marks the western entrance to Narragansett Bay and the eastern end of the string of beaches and eroding low glacial hills that characterize this coastline. Point Judith is an ice example of one of these low hills, where the ocean has carved a low bluff into glacial drift. The drift resists erosion and forms small headlands, and as it erodes, it provides coarse cobble and boulder that forms a lag surface on the foreshore (and offshore, too) and leads to coarse gravel beaches.


Heading west along this coast, most of the beaches between the major glacial headlands are long relatively sandy reaches, often with dunes and large back-barrier ponds. But in the immediate vicinity of the glacial outcrops, smaller beaches can form, some coarser or finer than others. Some of these are trapped or otherwise shaped by artificial structures -jetties, breakwaters, and armored promontories.


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