Although incised valleys at or near the highstand shoreline are common on many Holocene (and ancient) continental margins, their dynamics remain poorly understood. To explore these systems, Mattheus and Rodriguez use geophysical and lithologic data and geomorphic analyses to examine the morphology and facies architecture of coastal prism and tributary incised valleys on the Holocene lower coastal plain of North Carolina. The results reveal trends in Holocene coastal evolution in response to sea-level rise and sedimentation, including the observation that incised-valley width is proportional to drainage-basin area. They suggest that distinguishing between valley morphologies in the coastal plain provides insight into the distribution of sandy lithosomes, important for mapping groundwater and hydrocarbon reservoirs.
Controls on lower-coastal-plain valley morphology and fill architecture by C.R. Mattheus and A.B. Rodriguez