See how the sand spits seem to grow and recede. Some scientists say the island is gradually moving eastward. Others argue that its centre is not shifting. A few believe that the island is shrinking and may disappear.

If storms currents are building the island, it will survive as long as there are storms and sand.

See how the sand spits seem to grow and recede. Some scientists say the island is gradually moving eastward. Others argue that its centre is not shifting. A few believe that the island is shrinking and may disappear.

If storms currents are building the island, it will survive as long as there are storms and sand.


© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Sable Island in 1766

Sable Island in 1766

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Sable Island in 1899

Sable Island in 1899

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Sable Island in 1952

Sable Island in 1952

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Sable Island in 1964

Sable Island in 1964

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Sable Island in 1981

Sable Island in 1981

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Sable Island is the last offshore remnant of land exposed when sea levels were much lower at the end of the last Ice Age, about 11,000 years ago. Some believe the pile of sand was pushed there by the ice - making Sable Island a terminal moraine. Sable Island survives because of the great reservoirs of sand on Sable Island Bank and the sand-binding trapping abilities of its plants, especially Marram grass.

The strongest current around Sable Island Bank flows along its outer edge. These are waters from the Labrador Current and Gulf of St. Lawrence. some of this current branches off in a clockwise flow around the Western tip (Western bank), leaving quieter waters over the bank shallows. Sand on the bank is not moved by slow, regular current. But storm-wind currents will move larges amounts of sand, especially West to East. Sand in constantly replaced in the shallows around the island.

Storms waves and winds also fling sand onto the beaches of Sable Island, where strong winds carry it further onto the island. There it is trapped by plants. Some plants actually thrive on being partly smothered by nutrient rich snad.

Wavez and wind can also tear up plants and Read More

Sable Island is the last offshore remnant of land exposed when sea levels were much lower at the end of the last Ice Age, about 11,000 years ago. Some believe the pile of sand was pushed there by the ice - making Sable Island a terminal moraine. Sable Island survives because of the great reservoirs of sand on Sable Island Bank and the sand-binding trapping abilities of its plants, especially Marram grass.

The strongest current around Sable Island Bank flows along its outer edge. These are waters from the Labrador Current and Gulf of St. Lawrence. some of this current branches off in a clockwise flow around the Western tip (Western bank), leaving quieter waters over the bank shallows. Sand on the bank is not moved by slow, regular current. But storm-wind currents will move larges amounts of sand, especially West to East. Sand in constantly replaced in the shallows around the island.

Storms waves and winds also fling sand onto the beaches of Sable Island, where strong winds carry it further onto the island. There it is trapped by plants. Some plants actually thrive on being partly smothered by nutrient rich snad.

Wavez and wind can also tear up plants and return free sand to the sea.

Scientists do not agree about whether a natural balance of construction and destruction will keep the island in existance, especially with global warming and rising sea level.


© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Map

Map

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • describe natural phenomena such as ocean currents, and wind that cause to the landscape on Sable Island.

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