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Eastern Coastal Plain Studies

Eastern Coastal Plain Studies is an integrated project reflecting the goals of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping and Climate and Land Use Change Programs as well as the project members' considerable cross-disciplinary expertises. The overall objective of this project is to describe and understand the processes that formed the Eastern Coastal Plain, focusing on the geologic and hydrologic framework, landscape evolution, and paleoclimate and paleoecology of targeted areas. Major research interests stem from surficial geologic mapping and subsurface mapping of the geologic framework and have led to, for example, the recognition that ancient river channels surrounding the Chesapeake Bay now serve as groundwater conduits, an improved understanding of Quaternary terrestrial climate variability and associated glacial-interglacial landform behavior along the east coast, and the response of shallow water ecosystems to ocean acidification through studying Eocene hyperthermals, our closest natural analogs to today's rise in atmospheric carbon concentration. ECPS utilizes sedimentology and stratigraphy, geomorphology, micropaleontology, geochemistry, geophysics, and a variety of dating techniques to address the complex problems facing our coastal population centers. Chris Swezey leads the Geologic Framework task. More information on the reconstruction of Plio-Pleistocene landscapes and Eocene Hyperthermals research can be found under the Climate and Land Use Program site.

contact: Marci Robinson

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