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Marine Places

Hatteras Island

Hatteras Island is a classic barrier island of sandy composition. It runs parallel to the mainland and is long and narrow, with an average width of 1,500 ft (450 m), and has been shaped by complex processes of deposition effected by ocean currents and waves. It is part of a series of barrier islands called the Outer Banks and has two distinct sections, which join at a promontory called Cape Hatteras. The dangerously turbulent waters in this area have resulted in hundreds of shipwrecks over the centuries.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Erosion and deposition often cause shorelines to migrate. In 1999, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was moved because the sea had begun to lap at its base, threatening its destruction.

Hatteras Islandzoom image
  • Atlantic Ocean Northwest
  • Type Secondary coast
  • Formation Deposition of sediment by waves and currents
  • Extent 70 miles (112 km)
  • Location Off the coast of North Carolina, northeastern US
Hatteras Island habitat mapzoom image