An Island Carved by Water
The story of Long Island began with ice. As glaciers surged over and retreated from this patch of land at the end of the last Ice Age, they dropped and piled up hills of sediment. When the ice melted and seas rose, those piles of glacial debris were surrounded by the sea. Stretching out into the Atlantic like a giant fish, the island continues to change. Thousands of years later, water still re-sculpts the island's shoreline.
On 17 October 2016, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this image of Long Island's East End. While the North Shore is characterized by craggy inlets and peninsulas, the South Shore is lined with smooth, protective sand bars—the result of constantly pounding waves.
Between the branching tails of the East End lies Gardiners Island, which spans more than 3,300 acres and is closed to the public—a source of curiosity given its proximity to population-dense Long Island. In the 1600s, Gardiners was believed to have a cache of pirate gold. Modern scientists appreciate it for another form of booty: its rich coastal geology.
View the full resolution image.
Credit: NASA - Additional editing and text by the eoPortal team.