Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tangier Island, Washing Away

Tangier Island, Virginia, famous for the archaic dialect of its 700 residents, is disappearing. The latest sign of the sea's steady encroachment is in the graveyard at the Uppards, now washing into the sea.

Archaeologists from the state have been working to move as many graves as they can, but many are already gone. These are stones from graves that have washed away.

The highest point on Tangier is only 4 feet (1.2 m) above high tide; islanders call these high spots, old dunes with elevations of 2 to 4 feet, "ridges." Now the island measures about 740 acres, mostly marsh. Only about 83 acres is habitable. The island is losing about 9 acres a year to erosion and sea level rise. It will almost certainly not see the 22nd century.

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