Relocating the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in .NET

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Relocating the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
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FIGURE 13-1 The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is 208 feet tall. It weights 4,800 tons.
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The case for moving the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was made in a paper, by this author, titled Straight Line Move Necessitated by the Migration of the Barrier Islands, presented at the Annual APT Conference, October 1986, in Austin, Texas. That paper discussed the inevitable migration of the barrier islands, the original construction of the lighthouse, examples of other similar large buildings moved successfully in the United States and elsewhere, and the technology available to accomplish the task. A lighthouse is by nature obstinate and stubborn, standing as it does on the edge of the earth, subject to the ravages of the sea. When a lighthouse is threatened by time and the environment, it is popular to rally to its defense, often with the same obstinacy that the lighthouse exhibits daily. So it is with the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina. This wonderful structure was designed in the 1860s painstakingly by hand, without bene t of computers. The bricks were made and laid by hand. Beautifully
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proportioned and crafted, this lighthouse has symbolized North Carolina s Outer Banks for years. Now it was threatened by the relentless surf and the westward migration of the barrier island on which it stood. By 1988, the black and white diagonally striped Cape Hatteras Lighthouse had warned mariners for 116 years of the treacherous waters that have given North Carolina s Outer Banks the nickname Graveyard of the Atlantic. The Light Station at Buxton is a symbol of the Outer Banks and of maritime culture and may be the best known of American lighthouses. Because of its historical importance in the region and, indeed, the nation, the distinctive tower is included on the National Register of Historic Places. In much the same way that the structure dominates the landscape, so too is the lighthouse prominent in the local culture. It was obvious that migration of the North Carolina barrier islands would, in time, undermine this historic structure. Dr. Orrin H. Pilkey, a Duke University geologist and noted authority on the Outer Banks, stated many times that the attempts to save the lighthouse in place are doomed. On May 19, 1985, a Cape Hatteras Shoreline Erosion Workshop was held at Buxton, North Carolina. Participants included representatives from the National Park Service, North Carolina State University, the University of Virginia, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Community Development. The purpose of the workshop was to review the patterns and frequency of ocean shoreline changes in the vicinity of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Regardless of the database or study used, it was clear to the participants that the long-term change in this shoreline is characterized by erosion. This erosion trend appears to be consistent with changes reported for most of the mid-Atlantic coast. They concluded that causes were a combination of longterm sea level rise, storms, and both manmade and natural reduction in sediment supply. The erosion of the beach was documented by reviewing 18 publications dealing with the quanti cation of erosion and accretion. The information reviewed was based on aerial photographs and bathymetric charts for a period of 100 years. Shoreline erosion is a manifestation of the whole island changing shape and position. Migration of the Barrier Islands is a well-documented natural condition caused by the forces of waves, tides, and wind. As the Barrier Islands roll over themselves in tank-tread fashion, nature maintains the dynamic equilibrium of the beaches through unceasing trade-offs of material, energy, topology, and the rising sea level. For thousands of years, the traditional methods of protecting shorelines have centered around stabilizing the natural system. The construction of marine
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