High biogenic productivity, strong tidal currents, shoal topography, and short transport distances combine to favor shell-bed formation along the lower flanks of a cape-associated shoal off Herod Point on Long Island, New York. This shell bed has a densely packed, clast-supported fabric composed largely of undegraded surf clam (Spisula solidissima) valves. It is widest along the central part of the western flank of the shoal where topographic gradients are steep and a stronger flood tide results in residual flow. The bed is narrower and thinner toward the landward margins where currents are too weak to transport larger valves and topographic gradients are gentle, limiting bed-load transport mechanisms by which the shells are concentrated.
Reconnaissance mapping off Roanoke Point suggests that shell beds are also present at the other cape-associated shoals off northeastern Long Island, where relatively similar geomorphic and oceanographic conditions exist. These shell beds are important to the Long Island Sound ecosystem because they provide complex benthic habitats of rough and hard substrates at the boundary between the muddy basin floor and mobile sand of the shoals.