The Changing Shape of the Cape & Islands Archives - Cape Cod LIFE Publications



The Changing Shape of the Cape & Islands: The tidal flats of Brewster, Orleans, & Eastham

Editor’s note: this is the 11th in a series of articles covering the region’s dramatically changing coastline.
Measuring approximately 12,000 acres at low tide, the tidal flats that run along the coastline of Cape Cod Bay are the largest flats in North America. The unique area extends some 9.7 miles along the shore from Brewster to North Eastham. As many…

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The Changing Shape of the Cape & Islands: The Changing Shape of the Gay Head cliffs, Martha’s Vineyard

The Gay Head cliffs, Martha’s Vineyard
Editor’s note: this is the tenth in a series of articles covering the region’s dramatically changing coastline.
Forty-six feet. In 2014 only 46 feet stood between the historic Gay Head Lighthouse on the west coast of Martha’s Vineyard and a retreating cliff face. Erosion had eaten away at the once ample cliff-side, leaving the historic light in…

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The Changing Shape of Esther’s Island, Tuckernuck, and Nantucket’s western shore

(Editor’s note: This is the ninth in a series of articles covering the region’s dramatically changing coastline.)
Anyone who has scanned a map of Nantucket, or sailed in the waters surrounding the island, understands that there is quite a bit of water between the Nantucket and nearby Tuckernuck. It’s roughly three quarters of a mile from shore to shore—but that was…

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The Changing Shape of Sandy Neck Beach Park, Barnstable & Sandwich

(Editor’s note: this is the eighth in a series of articles covering the region’s dramatically changing coastline.)
Sandy Neck Beach Park encompasses more than 4,700 acres of land in West Barnstable (and a small portion in Sandwich) overlooking Cape Cod Bay and Barnstable Harbor. Boasting six miles of shoreline, the park features vast beaches, massive sand dunes, forests, marshland, and…

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The Changing Shape of Popponesset Beach, Mashpee

Located in southeastern Mashpee, Popponesset is a small, quiet and scenic village with a population of just 220, according to the most recent U.S. Census. The village is situated along Popponesset Bay, which is fed by the Mashpee and Santuit rivers, which lead out to Nantucket Sound through a channel around the Popponesset Spit, a lengthy yet narrow extension of…

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The Changing Shape of the Cape & Islands: An introduction to our series

“Rather suddenly, about 12,000 years ago . . .

“Rather suddenly, about 12,000 years ago, a rapid warming of the world climate set in and the ice sheets of North America and Europe began to waste away.” Such begins a paragraph in writer Arthur N. Strahler’s 1966 book, A Geologist’s View of Cape Cod, where the author describes the melting…

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The Changing Shape of Siasconset, Nantucket

The village of Siasconset sits on the east coast of Nantucket. A distance from downtown, the area offers stunning scenery and a unique culture and history. Due to its location, though, Siasconset (or “Sconset”) also regularly feels the wrath of the Atlantic’s rough waters beating along its shoreline. Sankaty Head Lighthouse, perhaps the village’s best known attraction—it’s a white light…

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The Changing Shape of Ballston Beach, Truro

The Changing Shape of the Cape & Islands

For two days in February of 2013, a blizzard packing hurricane force winds pounded Cape Cod. One of the areas that suffered the most damage was Ballston Beach, a popular spot on Truro’s Atlantic-facing coastline. When high tide struck on the evening of February 8, the storm surge broke through the dunes, pushing…

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The Changing Shape of the Cape & Islands: Edgartown, Chappaquiddick and the breach—and restoration—of Norton Point Beach

Editor’s note: this is the fourth in a series of articles covering the region’s dramatically changing coastline.
In April of 2007, a powerful storm on Patriots’ Day caused a break near the center of Norton Point Beach, a barrier beach that runs along the southeastern tip of Martha’s Vineyard dividing Katama Bay from the Atlantic. With this breach in the two-and-one-half…

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