|Physical Geology Chapter 14 Internet Exercise|
Human settlement patterns and human nature have had an affinity for coastal
zones for many millennia. People are relocating to coastal regions in greater
numbers and more rapidly than at any other historic time.
At the same time, global climate is changing and sea-level is rising, subjecting
a large proportion of the world human population and the infrastructure that
supports it to adverse affects of coastal living due to extreme tides, natural
and human-accelerated coastal erosion processes, and episodic storm surf and
This exercise will provide you with an overview of coastal vulnerability due
to future sea-level rise as determined by the United
States Geological Survey Marine and Coastal Geology Program.
Once at the home page of the USGS Marine
and Coastal Geology Program, locate the"Erosion" link under the"Topics
of Study" box on the right hand side of the page. Follow this link, then
scroll down the page to"National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability To
Click on this link to become acquainted with the basics of this study. Under
the"Products" heading, choose either Atlantic Coast, Pacific Coast,
or Gulf of Mexico to learn more about the vulnerability of these regions to
sea-level rise. Use information contained in these reports to answer the questions
1. These reports rank coastal areas according to a Coastal Vulnerability
Index (CVI). What is the CVI and what risk factors contribute to coastal vulnerability
to sea-level rise?
2. How is the CVI calculated for a particular location?
3. For the region you chose, create a list of those features that are particularly
vulnerable to sea-level rise.
4. Examine Figure 1 (Map of the Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) for the
region you chose. How does the color coded CVI along the coast relate to geological
conditions? What areas appear to show the greatest vulnerability to sea-level
rise? What factors contribute to this distribution?
5. Are the results consistent with your expectations for this study?
6. What can be learned from examining the map of CVI? Does this map have
value to the average coastal dweller? What is that value? Can you think of
ways to enhance the value of these maps for coastal residents?