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Ribbon of Sand: The Amazing Convergence of the Ocean and the Outer Banks

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2014


    She filled a hollowed stone with water and slowly poured it over coral. The seawater helped return a little feeling to corals legs. She filled a bucket of water and made it colder. She picked up coral and flew back.

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  • Posted December 14, 2012

    Ribbons of Sand is no masterpiece in terms of writing. It is, in

    Ribbons of Sand is no masterpiece in terms of writing. It is, in my opinion, average or slightly above. However, I believe that may lend to the book’s effectiveness. The sentences are generally clear and concise, without flowery writing to get in the way. In this it is both scientific and readable, two aspects that often seem mutually exclusive to many. Topics like the geology of the Banks or the forces that shape them are not off limits to the average reader. 

    This geology and the formation of the Outer Banks is perhaps one of the most fascinating topics in the book. Unlike any other barrier reefs or islands in the world, these banks do not have a Pleistocene coral base. As described in Chapter 2, a graduate student named Robert Dolan undertook “a research project near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina” at the urging of one of his doctoral professors. Over the course of a year “he drilled 140 holes, some of them up to 100 ft deep” (20). His findings revealed that the banks were no older than 5000 years and comprise entirely of Holocene (the current period) sand. As described in the same chapter, the geography of the United States east coast is the catalyst of the Outer Banks’ formation. The combination of shallow, sloping continental shelf, “elbow capes,” and rising sea creates perfect conditions for the deposition of sand just off the coast of North Carolina. It’s amazing to me that something as simple as the shape of a coastline can have such a drastic effect on the surrounding geography. For contrast, the authors point out that Brazil has a similar continental shelf, but the lack of elbow capes keeps the reef from form barrier islands like those in North Carolina.

    I was waiting for the clarity to turn into scientific jargon and the humanly prose to turn sterile. Neither happened. Instead I was pleasantly surprised with an insightful, comprehensive, and varied study on one of North America’s most interesting natural phenomena. Ribbons of Sand: The Amazing Convergence of the Ocean & the Outer Banks is a book that anyone with an interest in geography, the Outer Banks, or the amazing interactions of nature should pick up. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2010

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