One hundred thousand years ago, when the formation of polar ice caps caused the sea level to fall and the ocean to recede eastward, Spring Island took shape as a barrier island with high sandy dunes. Twelve thousand years ago, a warming global climate caused sea levels to rise. The shoreline moved westward, reaching its present location approximately 4,000 years ago and Spring Island’s coastal location was established.
Spring Island had a very different appearance 10,000 years ago. Sea level was 300′ lower than it is today and the coast was located 50 miles to the east.
At the end of the ice age Homo sapiens became a dominant part of the landscape. The warmer climate also brought periodic fires, caused by summer lightning strikes. An assemblage of plants adapted to coexist with these periodic fires spread northward out of Florida as the climate warmed.
The ocean marched westward as sea level continued to rise, eventually flooding low-lying areas of the present coastline. The Broad River and the tributaries surrounding Spring Island became brackish as fresh water from upstream mixed with the high salinity waters brought inland by the ocean’s tidal pulses. This is the area we now know as Port Royal Sound.
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