Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Earth and Ocean Sciences

First Advisor

David Barbeau


Currently, there is no textural or mineralogic basis for identifying and differentiating Pleistocene strand deposits in the South Carolina (SC) Lower Coastal Plain (LCP). Historically, geologic mapping of the SC coastal plain uses geomorphologic and biostratigraphic techniques for identifying and mapping LCP surficial strand deposits. While useful, both approaches have problems. The aim of this study is to develop a cost-effective approach to differentiate and identify strand deposits of different Pleistocene alloformations occurring in the SC LCP. To accomplish this task, four strand samples were taken from the Ten Mile Hill, the Ladson, and Wicomico alloformations in Horry County, SC. As a control, four samples were taken from an active Holocene strand deposit on Waites Island in Horry County, SC. The samples were analyzed for grain size, grain shape, and mineralogic composition. Analysis of the samples determined that the strand deposits associated with the Ten Mile Hill deposits were significantly coarser, more spherical, and more symmetrical than those of the other deposits, and could be identified using these methods. The deposits associated with the modern strand deposits occurring at Waites Island were significantly less spherical and symmetrical when compared to the Pleistocene strand deposits. K-means cluster analysis, using a combination of the data collected, was successfully able to cluster 15 of 16 samples into their associated units. This study demonstrates that Pleistocene strand deposits occurring in the SC LCP can be differentiated using grain texture and mineralogic characteristics, especially when integrated with statistical analyses such as k-means cluster analysis.


© 2022, Charles Andrew Wykel

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