Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tree Stumps & Peat

Geologist tell us that, as sea level rises, the Outer Banks islands "leap frog" toward the west. After ocean-side sand is eroded by storm tides it is then carried by the wind across the sand flats and deposited on the sound-side, covering marshland and other vegetation. Eventually, after many years, evidence of this slow migration appears on the ocean beach when remnants of centuries-old sound-side growth is uncovered. The photos below were taken a few days ago. You can see the remains of tree stumps in one picture, and an exposed layer of peat in the other.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a reproduction of a 1960s booklet titled The Great Ocracoke Cat Hunt. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092115.htm


  1. Anonymous5:02 PM

    45 years ago my buddies and I were exploring the beaches of the outerbanks (with my friends parents), when they really were the OUTER banks. Philip, I know you know what I mean, hardly any traffic,houses,businesses etc. One time we tried to pull out a stump from the beach. There were stumps everywhere. I think this was closer to Nags Head. We beat those stumps with driftwood and an old folding chair but we could not get the stump to budge. I remember stepping in this tar like sludge. Out parents were not too happy with this mess on out suits and shows. The point is this erosion and tar mess has been going on time. Hence the tar heel state. I'll bet it will continue for a long time. What were we going to do with it if we ever got it out? I haven't a clue now but it sure was fun.

  2. Anonymous1:17 PM

    Early in the history of North Carolina when ships ruled the sea and naval stores provided the pitch and tar to seal the hulls. The pitch black tar produced from the pine tree forests -- the process, a messy smelly one at that was an industry that consumed many a community labor force. Perhaps a reader or two can add to this bit of trivia.

    1. I wrote about naval stores in November, 2014: http://villagecraftsmen.blogspot.com/2014/11/naval-stores.html