When it comes to moving sediment around and demolishing current topography, storms do most of the work. Although geologists like Sir Charles Lyell made their 19th-century reputations arguing otherwisethe so-called uniformitarian perspectivethe geologic record is commonly one of extreme events. Hurricane Katrina reshaped the Gulf coast, and Hurricane Sandy threatens to rearrange parts of the East coast. Big sand beds and washed-over barrier islands may be a permanent legacy of storms like Sandy. You can be sure that along with the disaster-recovery specialists, insurance companies and grandstanding TV weathercasters, some dedicated sedimentologists will be exploring the coast after Sandy comes and goes this week.
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