Date of Completion

2019

Document Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Geology

Type of Thesis

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Paul Bierman

Keywords

cosmogenic nuclide, 10Be, watershed, basin, geomorphology, geochemistry

Abstract

Extreme storms, such as hurricanes, have the potential to cause widespread erosion. One way to measure landscape evolution is by tracing cosmogenic isotopic concentration over time because episodic events can change the source of sediment and thus its isotopic concentration. Here, we examine the effect of Hurricane Maria on the Caribbean island of Dominica – a tropical setting where erosion rates have not previously been measured – by measuring beryllium isotopes in river sand collected before (July 2017) and after the hurricane (January 2018). We test for temporal and spatial variance of these nuclides as a result of storm-induced erosion and sediment transport by comparing our data sets to landscape-scale factors of watersheds. Even though isotope concentration of individual samples does change from before to after the hurricane, there is no observed correlation between our isotopic concentration data sets and landscape characteristics. Similar average isotopic data before and after the hurricane show that the hurricane added noise, but did not invalidate the assumption of long-term steady state erosion on Dominica.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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