8C - Carolina Bays

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carolina bays photo detail
carolina bays topo detail
Carolina Bays, Aerial Photograph
Carolina Bays, Topographic Map

Bladen Lakes
(Topo Map)
Bladen Lakes
Bladen Lakes
Bladen Lakes


Carolina Bays are interesting geological formations that have intrigued scientists for generations. Many theories have been suggested to explain the formation of the Bays, ranging from the difficult to accept ones - such as the Bays’ being scooped out by giant turtles - to the difficult not to accept ones - such as the Bays’ being formed by the impact of a comet. Another front-running theory suggests that the Bays were formed gradually from pre-existing ponds by the slow action of prevailing winds. However the Bays formed, they are organically rich and normally very wet. They support several rare and endangered plant and animal species and provide major wetland habitat for one of the most diverse biological communities of the Coastal Plain Region. If drained, the rich soils of the Bays can be used for farming. Except along the rim of the Bays, where the soil is sometimes almost totally sand, typical Bay soils are able to support the growth of both row crops and forest products. A few of the Carolina Bays remain in their natural state, and are preserved as parks, but the majority of them have been ditched and drained for agriculture or logging.


  • Origin and Geometry of Carolina Bays
  • Ecology of Bays and Alteration of Landscape

Content Outline

  • Rationale
  • Performance Objectives
  • Assessment Rubrics
  • Newspaper Article
  • Study Area Description

Activity Titles

All activities include

  • Power Thinking Exercise
  • Materials
  • Performance Tasks
  • Enrichment
  1. Anatomy of a Carolina Bay
  2. Land Use and Environmental Issues

8C Photo