With strong personal and professional ties to the Gulf of Mexico, marine geologist John B. Anderson has spent two decades studying the Texas coastline and continental shelf. In this book, he sets out to answer fundamental questions that are frequently asked about the coast—how it evolved; how it operates; how natural processes affect it and why it is ever changing; and, finally, how human development can be managed to help preserve it.
The book provides an amply illustrated look at ocean waves and currents, beach formation and erosion, barrier island evolution, hurricanes, and sea level changes. With an abundance of visual material—including aerial photos, historical maps, simple figures, and satellite images—the author presents a lively, interesting lesson in coastal geography that readers will remember and appreciate the next time they are at the beach and want to know:
What happens to the sand that erodes from our beaches?
Can beach erosion be stopped—and should we try?
How much sand will be needed to stabilize our beaches?
Does a hurricane have any positive impacts?
How much development can the coast withstand?
This entertaining and instructive book provides authoritative answers to these and other questions that are essential to our understanding of coastal change.
JOHN B. ANDERSON is professor of earth sciences at Rice University, where he also holds the W. Maurice Ewing Professorship in Oceanography. He is best known for his work in Antarctic marine geology, but his other research has focused on the northern Gulf of Mexico basin. He lives in Houston.