Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Earth and Environmental Sciences


Earth and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

Kulp, Mark; Levoie, Dawn

Second Advisor

Miner, Michael

Third Advisor

Georgiou, Ioannis


The mechanism of Holocene barrier formation aids in determining island geomorphologic responses to modifying climatic processes of the surrounding environment. The geometry and composition of local antecedent topography plays a role in barrier formation by providing an elevated base, nucleus for sedimentation and local sediment supply. Investigation of barriers' subsurface geology provides insight into island formation and evolution. High-resolution shallow seismic data acquired in the island's nearshore zone and interior canals, correlated with existing drillcore data, reveal that Cat Island, MS is situated over an Oxygen Isotope Stage 3 Phase 3 paleochannel located between two topographic high-grounds of the Pleistocene surface. Beach ridge strandplain sets on Cat Island provide additional evidence supporting the island's formation over a relict depocenter. A new, 4-stage model for Cat Island development and evolution incorporating the influence of pre-existing topographic high-grounds and abundant local sediment supply provided by a backfilling fluvial channel is presented here.


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