Currituck Sound, North Carolina, USA:
North Carolina's Outer Banks--known as Bodie Island in the area shown in this image--protects a network of interconnected waterways, including Currituck Sound, a shallow, 3-mile-wide water body; the North River; and the well-known Albemarle Sound. Wakes from barges on the Intracoastal Waterway appear on the North River, which provides a connection between the Hampton Roads area to the north and Pamlico Sound to the south.

Farmland (light colored patches at top left) and urbanized areas (gray areas on land at image center) occupy all available "high" ground, which is still only a few feet above sea level in this area. This astronaut photograph illustrates how population density increases near the coastline. Large, angular patches of farmland with low building densities give way to smaller farms and urban lots on the spit of land between the North River estuary and Currituck Sound. Two golf courses, identified by manicured green fairways, appear in the center of the spit. Areas with the greatest building density crowd the narrow strip of Bodie Island, where small lots occupy all available dry land. In the decade before this photograph was taken, coastal population increased while farm-dominated counties just inland lost population.

Large, darker areas at image left are wetlands. Many of these regions enjoy strict protection, thanks to their importance to the fishing industry, and their ability to reduce storm surges. Atlantic hurricanes regularly batter North Carolina's coast, and evidence of that activity lingers in the form of a likely washover fan, a common feature seen on the inland side of low barrier islands from the mid-Atlantic states to Texas. These fan-shaped sediment deposits result from hurricane-generated storm surges flooding over a barrier island. They are a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the Outer Banks to storm flooding.

Winds produce complex patterns on the water surface, captured in sunglint--light reflected directly back to a satellite sensor, or in this case, the camera lens of the astronaut taking the photograph. The day this photograph was taken, winds blew from the west, as shown by many stream-lines on the water surfaces. Sand mobilized by waves produced a light zone on the seaward side of Bodie Island.




ISS014-E-06971 (1 Nov. 2006) --- Currituck Sound, North Carolina, is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 14 crewmember on the International Space Station (ISS). North Carolina's Outer Banks--known as Bodie Island in the area represented by this recent image--protects a network of interconnected waterways including Currituck Sound, a shallow, three mile-wide water body; the North River; and the well-known Albemarle Sound. Wakes from barges on the Intracoastal Waterway are visible on the North River, which provides a channel connection between the Hampton Roads area to the north with Pamlico Sound to the south. Farmland (light colored patches at top left) and urban land uses (grey, on land at center) occupy all available "high" ground (still only a few feet above sea level). According to NASA scientists who study the ISS collection of still imagery, the frame illustrates well the progressive increase in population density from left to right as one approaches the coastline. Large angular patches of farmland with low building densities give way to smaller farms and urban lots on the spit of land between the North River estuary and Currituck Sound. Two golf clubs, identified by bright green manicured fairways, are visible in the center of the spit. The highest building density land uses, by far, crowd the narrow strip of Bodie Island where land parcels are smallest and occupy all available dry land. Construction of primary and second homes in the last decade is evidenced in population increases of more than 30 percent in the coastal North Carolina counties. By contrast, farm-dominated counties just inland have lost population, according to the scientists. Large darker areas at left are wetlands which are under increasingly strict protection for many reasons including their importance to the fishing industry, to pollution reduction, as part of the Atlantic Flyway, and to storm surge reduction. North Carolina is regularly affected by Atlantic hurricanes. Evidence of hurricane activity can be seen in this image, in the form of a likely wash-over fan, a common feature seen on the inland side of low barrier islands from the Mid-Atlantic States to Texas. Wash-over fans are produced when hurricane-generated storm surges flood over a barrier island. And they are a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the Outer Banks to storm flooding. Complex patterns on water surfaces are produced by wind, captured in sunglint. The winds on the day this image was taken blew from the west, as shown by many stream-lines on the water surfaces. Sand mobilized by waves produces a light zone on the seaward side of Bodie Island.
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