Outer Banks Facts
- Perhaps most notably, the term of the Outer Banks serves as the name for a particularly visually stunning collective geological feature. Furthermore, this particular example of this type of formation has an incredibly beautiful composition.
- The remarkable site actually consists of an entire chain of what’s commonly known as barrier islands, as well as numerous large sandbars. Not surprisingly, of course, the local Native American tribes clearly knew of this fabulous site for countless centuries.
- This region remained unknown to the rest of the world until late in the 16th century, however. At that time, though, British sailor Richard Grenville, established the ill-fated settlement, now known as the Lost Colony, on one of the islands, in 1585.
- Subsequently, on June 22, 1587, John White, who had accompanied Richard Grenville on that first voyage, returned. During this period, along with 116 English settlers, he established the first successful European colony in this part of North America.
- Among other things, therefore, the Outer Banks played a key role in the history of this part of the world. Yet, that’s not its only claim to historical fame. Its unique location and resulting weather patterns have been put to good use.
- This holds true due to the fact that the Wright Brothers chose a location there for the first powered flight in recorded history. The choice occurred because of certain naturally occurring characteristics of the remarkable location aided in their efforts.
- Today, the Outer Banks remains of vital importance. Firstly, numerous national landmarks fill the area. Secondly, the region also contains many protected areas, due to its ecosystems. Thirdly, its great beauty makes it a popular tourist destination.
Outer Banks Physical Description
To begin with, it must be pointed out that the incredible location known as the Outer Banks includes more than just one feature. In point of fact, this dazzling wonder of Nature contains a total of 8 islands and peninsulas, along with numerous sandbars.
The islands bear the names of Corolla, Duck, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Roanoke Island, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke Island. These principal islands, however, along with the various sandbars, stretch out over a distance of roughly 200 mi (320 km).
This forms a roughly arch-shaped structure, lying offshore of the continent itself. But the precise nature of the chain constantly changes in minor ways. Many of the smaller features, such as the sandbars frequently change, due to the influence of strong storms in the region.
The vast majority of the truly visually stunning landscape of the Outer Banks further remains quite flat in nature. The exceptions to this principle, though few, generally come in the form of sand dunes, some of which can reach 100 ft (30.5 m) in height.
Many of the fabulous islands also possess numerous beautiful beaches. These sometimes have relatively expansive dimensions. Some of the islands also possess a highly elongated shape, in some places being no more than 1 mi (1.6 km) in width.
Outer Banks Location and Wildlife
First of all, the magnificent work of Nature named the Outer Banks formed in the Northern Hemisphere, along the edge of a specific portion of the east coast of North America. More specifically, this area forms the eastern coast of the country of the United States.
Within that range, the majority of this feature extends along the shoreline of the state of North Carolina. A tiny portion of this geological wonder nevertheless extends northward, along the shore of the state of Virginia. But, that forms only the leading edge of it.
The Outer Banks serve as home to a rich and diverse ecological system. As a result of its unique climate and positioning, many species call it home. This includes a variety of seabirds. Many varieties of mammals also appear here, having arrived from the mainland.
Also, many forms of vegetation flourish here, as well. This includes such varied species as beach grasses and various trees, such as palms, as well as Spanish Moss. However, its most noted wildlife consists of a sizable herd of wild horses, living on the island of Corolla.
Outer Banks Climate
Because of its unique positioning, the stunning Outer Banks, along with its other marvels, enjoys a most remarkable climate. In point of fact, despite being less than 30 mi (48 km) offshore in most places, it has a decidedly humid subtropical climate.
Even the temperature of the ocean tends to be warmer than that along the continental shore. Specifically, this means that wintertime temperatures rarely reach the freezing point, in any part of its area. Also, the winds help to moderate the effects of summer temperatures.
Generally, though, the winter and fall periods remain somewhat warmer than inland areas. Meanwhile, spring and summer tend to be milder, thanks to nearly constant sea winds. Sadly, however, its location also makes the region prone to hurricanes.
In fact, regardless of its otherwise excellent conditions, it remains the most hurricane prone region north of the state of Florida. Finally, although snow in winter does happen, the average yearly total amounts to less than 3 in (7.6 cm) in even the most northern sections.