Palaeotempestology is the study of prehistoric storms from geological and biological evidence and can be used to address questions related to long-term trends in hurricane activity and clues about what to expect in a warmer world. Most paleotempestology records are sourced from back-barrier salt marsh sediments. The combination of waves overtopping barrier beaches and storm surge may produce washover deposits in back-barrier marsh or lagoon environments. Tidal flow through inlets and washover associated with storm surge are the most common mechanisms that transport barrier sediments landward into back-barrier marshes or lagoons. The sediment and microfossils from these marshes have been used to document both prehistoric storm frequency and recurrence intervals.
We have taken cores from multiple Southwest Florida coastal sites. The below left-hand picture is a map of recent Southwest Florida hurricane landfalls. The below right-hand picture is a sediment core collected on Sanible Island that displays hurricane overwash layers.