Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Earth and Environmental Sciences


Earth and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

Mark A. Kulp

Second Advisor

Ioannis Y. Georgiou

Third Advisor

Duncan FitzGerald


Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating beach ridge sediments is one method for resolving barrier island growth at intermediate scales (decades-centuries), information that is lacking for Louisiana. This research combines OSL, GPR, aerial imagery, and cores to document temporal and spatial evolution of a Louisiana barrier island.

Grand Isle is composed of beach ridges organized in distinct, unconformable sets that began forming 0.75 ka until 0.575 ka when deposition ceased, the ridges were partially eroded, and deposition resumed in a more eastward direction. The central ridges formed between 370±30 and 170±10 years ago at a rate of one ridge every 11.6 years with sand from the eroding Caminada headland that, with flanking barriers, forms the Bayou Lafourche transgressive depositional system. Grand Isle’s lithosome (92,600,000 cubic meters) requires an annual longshore transport of 128,625 cubic meters. The lithosome thickness (10 meters) and steady sediment supply stabilize the island relative to other Louisiana barriers.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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Geomorphology Commons