The first 'bird's eye' view of Carolina Bays

In 1930 an aerial survey covering around five hundred square miles of coastal plain near Myrtle Beach in Horry County, South Carolina, was undertaken by Fairchild Aerial Surveys for the Ocean Forest Company. The resultant mosaic of photographs revealed some quite unusual features--the area looked as if some outraged giant had blasted it with a colossal shotgun. For scale, the largest well formed C-bay to the far left (Cotton Patch Bay) is a bit over a mile long. The arrow on this mosaic points to the North. Click for a larger image (~170k).
The C-bays are fading away as you can see in the recent (~1990) USGS image above, which covers most of the same area as the 1930 mosaic to the right.

More of the contemporary area (~180k).

The largest Carolina Bay in this group on the far right (Lewis Ocean Bay) lost much of its C-bay defining character over 60 years due to forest fire suppression. In unprotected areas, ditching these wetland features to drain them has caused deterioration.

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