Monday, December 3, 2012

12/3/12 Report - 3-Cent Silver Coins, For Peat's Sake & Disappearing Island

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

One Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday
Three-cent silver coins?   Very nice.

Here is the link.

Maybe you've seen big brown rounded lumps of what looks like soft wood on some of the beaches since Sandy.  I have.  The ones I've seen are probably a yard or more in diameter although not perfectly circular.

I should have taken photos, but as I mentioned the other day I have been having camera problems, and partly just didn't focus on those lumps when I was on the beach.  Anyhow, if you saw some of those lumps and didn't know what they are, you might have seen lumps of peat.

Here is a description of peat taken from wikipedia. 

Peat (turf) is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation. One of the most common components is Sphagnum moss, although many other plants can contribute. Soils that contain mostly peat are known as a histosol. Peat forms in wetland conditions, where flooding obstructs flows of oxygen from the atmosphere, reducing rates of decomposition.[1]

If you read this chapter, which I posted a few days ago, you read about how barrier islands such as those along the Treasure Coast form.  The chapter told about how the sand builds up forming the barrier island leaving low wetlands behind the island.  Those wetlands behind the barrier islands can be where peat forms.

So what do those peat lumps on the beach tell us that is important?   It tells us that land that was once behind the barrier island was recently uncovered by Sandy.   The recently exposed peat is part of the natural movement of barrier islands that occurs over time.  It probably also tells you something about where some of the fossils come from.

Again, if you read that chapter, you read that barrier islands on the East Coast tend to move from east to west.  Now, the interesting question to me is how much have the beaches moved since 1715 and the times of the other shipwrecks. 

Not too long ago I showed some old photos of the House of Refuge which showed that the beach there has definitely moved to the west.  We also saw the steps and concrete at Jensen Beach, which suggests that the beach there has also moved west.  I've also seen tree stump lines in the past that were out in the ocean and seemed to suggest that the beach there had moved west.  

When hunting shipwreck treasures, you might want to take that into account.  The beach is not where it was then.  I don't think there is any question that the beaches have generally moved to the west.   Exactly how much, I don't know.

Remember that when you hunt on the beach, part of it is over what was once the wetlands behind the beach, and that the beach was probably farther east when the wrecks took place.

Hurricane Sandy washed away part of a Virginia island where a community once thrived, exposing many old reminders.

Here is that link.

The surf is three to five feet today.  That will decrease a little over the next few days.  Beach detecting conditions are poor.

Low tide this afternoon will be around five PM.

I got a new camera and once I get it set up right I should get some interesting videos and photos.

Happy hunting,