Dr. Adrienne Oakley

Dr. Adrienne Oakley

Assistant Professor
Geology and Marine Science
136 Boehm Science Building
(484) 646-4334

Jurassic Ocean Crust Magnetic Survey 2011

From November 4-December 17, 2011 five Kutztown undergraduate students joined me on an NSF funded Marine Geophysical research cruise. Along with researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Texas A&M, we studied the Jurassic-age seafloor in the Western Pacific between Hawaii and Guam.

The cruise focused on mid-depth and near-bottom magnetic surveys using towed magnetometers and the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), Sentry. While the AUV Sentry recharged, we used the Scripps high-resolution multi-channel seismic (MCS) reflection system to image the igneous oceanic crust. Marine geophysical data collection also included seismic refraction, gravity, bathymetry, and chirp sonar. Shipboard bathymetry and chirp sonar data were processed on board by Kutztown University students who served as geophysical watchstanders during the cruise. These data, along with other oceanographic data from this remote region will form the basis of future research projects on campus. You can read more about our expedition in our blog!

Surface and Sub-Surface Mapping in the Coastal Zone of Wallops Island NASA Flight Facility: Monitoring Storm Response and Sea-Level Rise

As part of the “NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) and Marine Science Consortium (MSC) Research Collaboration” we are conducting a coastal zone mapping project to monitor changes in the surface and sub-surface of Wallops Island. This work supports the current beach restoration project proposed by NASA. Our objectives are to establish a series of survey transects both parallel to and perpendicular to the shoreline where surface mapping and sub-surface geophysical mapping (via ground penetrating radar, GPR) will take place on a regular schedule and immediately following significant storm activity. These investigations help to determine seasonal changes in groundwater flow, barrier island topography, shoreline position, and any changes in sediment grain size. The research also includes mapping the spatial and temporal distribution of important species (mole crabs, coquina clams, horseshoe crabs, etc) that play important roles in the food chain of various shore-birds that live within or otherwise utilize the shore environment.

Extensive, year-round monitoring of the shoreline along WFF allow us to establish baseline conditions and will eventually result in development of a comprehensive model for erosion and accretion patterns on seasonal and inter-annual time scales. These data, combined with the biological census reports documenting the relative abundance of important taxa provide a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of shoreline change as a result of sea-level rise. These data also allow mapping of the freshwater-saltwater interface for investigation of any changes in the flow of freshwater through the barrier islands as a result of climate change. This knowledge is essential to future planning along the Wallops Island shoreline.

The individual projects that are part of the research include:

  1. Tide and storm surge monitoring of Wallops Island using SOLINST pressure and temperature sensors.
  2. Grain size analysis and sediment distribution/transport along Wallops Island.
  3. Assessing seasonal and storm-influenced geomorphic change before and after beach replenishment along Wallops shoreline using topographic profiling, sediment change statistics, as well as beach parallel GPS surveys.
  4. Historical analysis of shoreline change on Wallops Island using GIS.
  5. Biological surveys. Distribution of macro fauna.
  6. Analysis of current and historical storm data. Establish parameters that determine a “significant” storm event. Compare rain fall events to ground-water recharge events visible in SOLINST data.
  7. Subsurface ground water mapping of the fresh water lens by GPR.
  8. Mathematical modeling of shoreline processes and sediment transport rates and volumes using wave parameterization statistics.

Recent Professional Presentations/Abstracts

Italics indicate student author

Chariw, J. E.; Sabetta, M. J. ; Oakley, A. J.; Cornell, S. R.; Monitoring in situ tidal range and surface aquifer recharge and discharge on Wallops Island, Virginia, 2012 ASLO-AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting, Abstract ID:11742, 2012

Woodlief, V. A..; Cornell, S. R.; Sabetta, M.; Sergent, E.; McGilliard, E..; Oakley, A.; A GIS analysis of the Chincoteague inlet eddy and its impact on the shoreline morphology of northern Wallops Island, Eastern Shore Virginia, 2012 ASLO-AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting, Abstract ID:1121, 2012

Mcgilliard, E., Cornell, S. R., and Oakley, A., High resolution GIS mapping of shoreline change at Wallops Island, Virginia: A preliminary investigation of the impact of Hurricane Irene, Abstracts with Programs- Geological Society of America 44 (2,) GSA Annual Meeting, Northeastern Section, 2012

Williams, J., Cornell, S. R., and Oakley, A., Preliminary investigation of a barrier island beach aquifer at Wallops Island, Virginia using ground penetrating radar, Abstracts with Programs- Geological Society of America 44 (2,) GSA Annual Meeting, Northeastern Section, 2012