Monday, November 19, 2012

Sandy Dug up Graves on Tangier

Sandy Washes Up Graveyard

Days after Hurricane Sandy churned the Chesapeake Bay and battered Tangier, Carol Moore went for a walk.

A part of Tangier Island, even at low tide, is barely above the waves. No one lives there, but it wasn’t always like that. “A thriving community. My great-grandfather owned a general store up here. And there was a school and a church,” Moore said.

A hurricane in the 1930s forced out the townspeople. They retreated to the main part of Tangier, leaving behind the artifacts of their lives. Time and tide washed them away, or buried them, until recently.

Among the shells and the driftwood, Moore spotted bottles, a button and then bones. “I was just walking along the shore and ran across five graves and three skeletons, a couple skulls and lots of bones,” she explained...

I'm pleasantly surprised they didn't invoke global warming and CO2 as the proximate cause of the disinterment.  As I have documented numerous times, the cause for the loss of land in the low lying islands of the Eastern shore are caused by numerous factors, including erosion at the margins of the islands, continued natural sea level rise after the end of the last ice age, and human induced subsidence and land use changes which prevent the flora from growing up to match sea level rise and not a sudden rise in sea level due to global warming climate change.

Having just visited Venice, I can see clearly what happens when man fights the rising sea.  Eventually, you get a city out in the water, with canals instead of streets (at least the major ones) and a population more accustomed to using boats instead of autos.  At some point the people on the Eastern Shore will need to decide whether they are retreating from the water, or learning to live with it.

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