Offshore Sand Resources in Southern Maryland Shoal Fields
Extensive beach restoration projects on the Maryland coast are placing increased pressure on
known offshore sand resources within State waters. Assessment of potential sand resources in
Federal waters will encourage both the development of new resources, and further restoration
projects. Previous studies suggest that most usable sand deposits will occur within linear shoals
on the inner continental shelf. A shoal field in waters off Assateague Island, containing eight
linear shoals, was examined for potential sand resources. This field, designated Shoal Field
III, is located approximately ¾ of a nautical mile off Assateague Island, and extends eastward
14 miles. Seismic surveys and vibracore samples were used to estimate the quality and quantity
of sediments contained within the shoals. Shoals K and F have a high potential for containing
sands with desirable grain size parameters, and are in sufficiently shallow waters. Five other
shoals have moderate potentials, limited by finer sediments and, in some cases, deeper waters.
Shoal G, within two miles of the shore, appears to contain sediments too fine and thinly distributed
to be of potential use for beach restoration.
Robert D. Conkwright and Rebecca A. Gast