Map 1: North Carolina and the Outer Banks.
In 1874, the U.S.L.S.S. expanded its operation to include seven stations on North Carolina's Outer Banks, a string of sandy barrier islands separating the mainland from the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the proximity of coastal shipping lanes, prevalent storms, strong currents, and deadly shoals, this once isolated and desolate area (centered on Cape Hatteras) saw many shipwrecks and earned a grim designation as "The Graveyard of the Atlantic."
1. Identify the barrier islands known as the Outer Banks on both maps. Why do you think they are called "barrier islands"? Why was this region a likely area for shipwrecks and lifesaving activities?
2. What other aids to navigation are evident? Why were they important?
3. Use a dictionary, encyclopedia, or other reference book to define the Labrador Current and Gulf Stream. What might happen when these two currents meet?
4. Why might seafarers have risked navigating these notoriously treacherous waters?
* The maps on this screen have a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of Map 1 and Map 2, but be aware that each file may take as much as 30 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.