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"B” is for barrier islands

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“B” is for barrier islands. Barrier islands are so named because they shield the mainland (as well as inland Sea Islands) from damage caused by sea storms. South Carolina has thirty-five barrier islands—more than any other state except Florida. Two types of Sea Islands border the South Carolina coast: barrier islands and erosion remnant islands. There are two theories about the creation of barrier islands: (1) they began as offshore sandbars, which waves then built up with sand deposits and (2) they are sand dune ridges remaining from the big glacier meltdown. Most barrier islands possess lee or bay-side salt marshes that face the mainland that provide crucial habitats for vital flora and fauna. Unlike the more stable Sea Islands, barrier islands—which border the ocean—are dynamic; their terrain is constantly changing.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.