Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 499–509 | Cite as

Experimental study of cohesive sediment consolidation and resuspension identifies approaches for coastal restoration: Lake Lery, Louisiana

  • Edward L. Lo
  • Samuel J. BentleySr.
  • Kehui Xu


The purpose of this study was to evaluate related processes of sediment consolidation and resuspension in a coastal basin and how these processes influence retention of fine sediment delivered by a river diversion. Sediment samples were collected from Lake Lery, a coastal receiving basin of the Caernarvon Diversion from the Mississippi River, Louisiana. Consolidation was tested for six initial sediment concentrations (14.0–105 kg m–3) in a settling column over 15-day periods. Mud erodibility was tested at seven shear stress regimes (0.01–0.60 Pa) using a dual-core Gust erosion microcosm system, on cores containing suspensions that consolidated for 1, 2, and 4 weeks. Consolidation rates were found to be inversely and exponentially related to initial suspension concentration, over concentrations ranging from fluid mud (10–200 kg m–3) to hydraulic dredge effluent. Consolidation is best predicted by a function consisting of two exponential terms and one asymptotic constant, describing rates of rapid initial and slower subsequent settling. Coupled resuspension and consolidation tests (concentrations of 20–21 kg m–3) show that shear stresses generating the highest turbidity peaks increase from ≤0.30 Pa after 2 weeks of consolidation to ≥0.45 Pa after 4 weeks, and this strengthening cannot be attributed solely to increasing sediment concentration over time. Comparison of measured erosion shear stresses with bed shear stresses typical of coastal lakes and bays suggests that this degree of strengthening, if given time to occur, could increase the overall retention of fine sediments deposited on lake and bay floors.


Solid Volume Fraction Consolidation Test Shear Stress Level Mississippi River Delta Consolidation Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



For financial support, the authors thank the Harrison Chair Endowment of the LSU Foundation, the LA-STEM Research Scholars Program funded by NSF, the Ronald E. McNair Research Scholars Program, LSU Chancellor’s Student Aide and The Water Institute of theGulf. For logistical support, we thank the Coastal Studies Field Support Group.Larry Sanford, Steve Suttles and Vincent Kelly helped develop and manufacture the Gust Erosion Microcosm System used in this study.We thank Dr. Tiffany Roberts for suggestions that were used to improve this manuscript. This article benefitted from the thoughtful assessments of one anonymous external reviewer and the journal editors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward L. Lo
    • 1
  • Samuel J. BentleySr.
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kehui Xu
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geology & GeophysicsLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Coastal Studies InstituteLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Oceanography and Coastal SciencesLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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