Monday, March 12, 2012

Collection Report Feb 13-15, 2012

February 13, 2012. 2PM, an hour or so before high-tide. Yet another bright, sunny day. A very cold morning, so I left my collection bags at home, figuring everything would be iced hard to the ground. I figured wrong.
No ice here!
Oh well. I stuck around to survey the landscape. There had definitely been energy here, at least judging by the pebbles sculpted & blasted up onto the beach face. But...
Lake Placid?
...Where on earth was that energy? All the way out to the horizon, the sea surface on this day was as glazed and dead as it's been all winter.

The answer is fairly simple. The energy's been where it's been all winter, when it's been around at all. On the seafloor. The swash zone (where the high tide waves break and splash up the slope) was littered with shell, pebbles, gravel -- all heavy, dense seafloor debris.

What isn't typical about this week is one way that energy manifested itself on the 13th:
The artist at work
The ocean has cast up pebble mounds before. But always in even rows, spaced consistently down the beach. Never one massive headland of cobbles and pebbles sitting all on its own! Yet again, nature amazes.

At any rate, given the lack of bags on my person on the 13th, I came back on the 15th. About 9:45AM, an hour after low-tide. In one sense the view was the same:
This actually is a different pic from the first,
look at the tide!
In another sense it was quite different:
That's where the rock pile was two days before;
by the 15th, blown utterly out of existence
What a world. Anyway, the wracklines were about the same, and the finds among them seemed about the same. So with that prelude, on to them. Zone N:
52 finds:
  • Building materials: 23 (20 asphalt, 2 tile, 1 brick)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 1
  • Fishing misc.: 13 (7 rope, 4 claw bands, 1 monofilament line, 1 trap vinyl coating scrap)
  • Food-related plastics: 0
  • Food-related metal/glass: 9 (seaglass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 2 (plastic plug, tieback)
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 2
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 2 (fabric scraps)
Can't pretend there's much interesting here, except maybe the big haul of asphalt.

Down to Zone S:
63 finds:
  • Building materials: 27 (7 brick, 20 asphalt)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 3
  • Fishing misc.: 5 (3 rope - 1 v large, 2 monofilaments)
  • Food-related plastics: 1 (bottle)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 8 (7 sea glass, foil wrapper)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 8 (bandaid, plastic lumber, engine belt, 2 scraps >1", 3 scraps <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 7
  • Paper/wood: 1
  • Misc./unique: 3 (2 fabric scraps, metal fencing)
The badly tortured plastic bottle still had its cap on, but scrapes on its underside had opened it & filled it with sand. Surely a long-suffering wash-in. As were the very grubby and frayed bits of rope (which I also found in Zone N above). The seaglass was a treat, as it's still rare to find more than one or two, no matter what the sea state.

So a varied week. Dead waves, yet heavy seafloor energy -- heavy enough to bring up asphalt, brick, glass, stone. Curiously, no tubeworm casings. Wherever in the surf zone these little homebuilders live, they escaped the week's fury. As did the densest/heaviest of plastics -- the vinyls. Only one, maybe two examples. The plastic that did wash in was limited to less dense varieties, oddly.

And again, no seaweed. Which is the bellwether. If energy strikes the seafloor where there's sea colander & kelp growing, it churns it up. Along with the plastics stuck amongst it. The two go hand in hand. This week, the energy didn't hit the seaweed zone.

Why does seafloor energy hit different parts of the seafloor in different weeks? The answer seems to be one of the keys in predicting where & how debris will wash in. Oh well. Live and learn.

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