Thursday, August 6, 2009

Assignment #4: Spectacle Island

Hi Everyone! Today we took a trip out to Spectacle Island, which I must say is my favorite of the three islands (Lovells, George’s & Spectacle) we have visited. I enjoyed the diversity of things to do on the island: see the visitor center, have a meal, enjoy the scenery, take in the vista, take a swim, hang out on the beach, and of course investigate the marine life! Our mission today was to perform a transection on the glass beach at the southern end of the island. Here are few key observations of the environment today: Date: 8/5/09, Time: between 1pm and 4pm, Tide: low, Air Temperature: approximately 85 degrees, Water Temperature: approximately 65 degrees, location: Spectacle Island. With the island having been a landfill up to the 1950s tied with the proximity of the island to the CocoSolo shipwreck in 1907, the beach has now become quite a museum of sea glass. Note: even after a good deal of research online I was unable to find any information related to the shipwreck of the CocoSolo.

How many were there?

We began our transection with a 6 ft x 6ft. square at the mid level of the beach. What we encountered was a wide assortment of the following types of glass:
  • 20% - Clear Glass
  • 20% - Green Glass
  • 20% - China / Porcelain / Ceramics
  • 15% - Brown Glass
  • 5% - Blue Glass
  • 2.5% - Pink Glass

  • 2.5% - Periwinkles
  • 2.5% - Muscle Shells
  • 12.5% - Miscellaneous

What is it and How are they Different?

After careful review of the various types of glass we were able to make loose conclusions of what these materials were and where they came from. We felt quite confident that the clear glass was from the landfill which held water and related liquids, the green class, after careful research used to hold milk in the mid 1900s. The China / Porcelain / Ceramics seemed to be quite similar and therefore we could easily deduce that this was from the CocoSolo shipwreck. The brown glass we would assume are from bottles of liquor as well however that of beer, etc. I must say that the blue and pink glass remained somewhat of a mystery and I look forward to getting more information regarding where they may have come from. What we did notice is that as the Brazilian Nut Theory states: the bigger items do stay at the top. What was interesting is that it is just not the top vertically but also horizontally. As we approached the shoreline the items reduced in size and as we dug deeper the items were quite small in size. This may also be partly due to long shore transport in effect.

This was quite an eye opening trip and was VERY informative. I learned quite a bit today of area that has always been right in my back yard.

- Nick Pinheiro

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