Mississippi River Sedimentation

The Mississippi River is experiencing a historic flood of major geological significance. The flooding provides an excellent chance to document sedimentation associated with the event and contrast it with storm deposition data from hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, and Rita. It is possible that the massive sediment load carried through Southwest Pass will lead to gravity flows on the delta front that could be documented with repeat coring. This research will determine the stratigraphic signature of the flood on the Mississippi subaqueous delta and will compare the sedimentological, radiochemical, and geochemical signature of the recent flood deposits on the shelf with previously studied hurricane deposits as well as examine strata of the delta front for evidence of flood-induced sediment-gravity flows. The proposed research provides a rare opportunity to study the critical processes of sediment and solute supply to the coastal ocean for a major river system. Broader impacts of the work include the training of up to six students in seagoing science and understanding the importance of major flooding events and sediment transport in the replenishment and erosion of the Mississippi Gulf Coast coastline. Details at http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=1142557.