Effects of Cold Fronts on Bayhead Delta Development: Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana, USA

  • Harry H. Roberts
  • Nan D. Walker
  • Alexandru Sheremet
  • Gregory W. Stone
Chapter
Part of the Coastal Systems and Continental Margins book series (CSCM, volume 8)

Abstract

Delta-building in the Holocene Mississippi River system is characterized by the successive construction and abandonment of delta lobes (Fisk, 1944; Kolb and Van Lopik, 1958; Frazier, 1967). Each major delta-building episode is accompanied by a rather orderly and predictable set of events starting with stream capture followed by filling of an interdistributary basin with lacustrine deltas and swamp deposits, building of a bayhead delta at the coast, and finally construction of a major shelf delta. The process of “delta switching” involves the initiation of a new major delta while the previously active delta is systematically abandoned. These changes associated with shifting fluvial input are commonly referred to as the “delta cycle” (Roberts, 1997). Each major delta lobe in the Mississippi River system is active for about 1000–1500 years.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adams, C.E., Jr., Wells, J.T. and Coleman, J.M. 1982. Sediment transport on the central Louisiana continental shelf: Implications for the developing Atchafalaya River delta. Contributions to Marine Science, 25, 133–143.Google Scholar
  2. Allison, M.A., Kineke, G.C., Gordon, E.S. and Goni, M.A. 2000. Development and reworking of a seasonal flood deposit on the inner continental shelf off the Atchafalaya River. Continental Shelf Research, 20, 2267–2294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allison, M.A. and Neill, C.F. 2002. Accumulation rates and stratigraphic character of the modern Atchafalaya River prodelta, Louisiana. Transactions Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, 52, 1031–1040.Google Scholar
  4. Bentley, S.J., Roberts, H.H. and Rotondo, K. 2003. The sedimentology of muddy coastal systems: The research legacy and new perspectives from the Coastal Studies Institute. Transactions Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, 53, 52–63.Google Scholar
  5. Booij, N., Ris, R.C. and Holthuijsen, L.H. 1999. A third generation wave model for coastal regions: Part I: model description and validation. Journal of Geophysical Research, 104, 7649–7666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chou, H.-T., Foda, M.A. and Hunt, J.R. 1993. Rheological response of cohesive sediments to oscillatory forcing. In Mehta, A.J. (ed) Nearshore and Estuarine Cohesive Sediment Transport. Coastal and Estuarine Studies Series, 42, 126–148. AGU, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  7. Cratsley, D.W. 1975. Recent deltaic sedimentation, Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana. Unpublished MS thesis, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, 142pp.Google Scholar
  8. Fisk, H.N. 1944. Geological investigation of the alluvial valley of the Lower Mississippi River. US Army Corps of Enginering, Vicksburg, Mississippi, 78pp.Google Scholar
  9. Fisk, H.N. 1952. Geologic investigation of the Atchafalaya Basin and the problem of Mississippi River diversion. US Corps of Engineers, Mississippi River Commission, Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1, 145pp.Google Scholar
  10. Fisk, H.N. 1955. Sand facies of recent Mississippi delta deposits. Proceedings 4 th World Petroleum Congress, Rome, Italy, Section 1–6, 377–398.Google Scholar
  11. Forristall, G.Z. and Reece, A.M. 1985. Measurements of wave attenuation due to a soft bottom: the SWAMP experiment. Journal of Geophysical Research, 90, 3367–3380.Google Scholar
  12. Frazier, D.E. 1967. Recent deltaic deposits of the Mississippi River, their development and chronology. Transactions Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, 17, 287–315.Google Scholar
  13. Fuller, D.A., Sasser, C.E., Johnson, W.B. and Gosselink, J.G. 1985. The effects of herbivory on vegetation on islands in Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana. Wetland, 4, 105–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gade, H.G. 1957. Effects of a non-rigid impermeable bottom on plane surface waves in shallow water. Unpublished PhD thesis, Texas A&M University, 35pp.Google Scholar
  15. Huh, O.K., Moeller, C.C. and Walker, N.D. 2001. Sedimentation along the eastern Chenier Plain coast: Down drift impact of a delta complex shift. Journal of Coastal Research, 17, 72–81.Google Scholar
  16. Li, Y. and Mehta, A.J. 2000. Fluid mud in wave dominated environment revisited. In McAnally, W.H. and Mehta, A.J. (eds) Coastal and Estuarine Fine Sediment Processes. Proceedings of Marine Science, 3, 79–93.Google Scholar
  17. Keown, M.P., Dardeau, Jr., E.A. and Causey, E.M. 1986. Historic trends in the sediment flow regime of the Mississippi River. Water Resources Research, 22, 1555–1564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kineke, G.C., Woolfe, K.J, Kuehl, S.A., Milliman, J.D., Dellapenna, T.M. and Purdon, R.G. 2000. Sediment export from the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea: evidence for a divergent plume. Continental Shelf Research, 20, 2239–2266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kolb, C.R. and Van Lopik, J.R. 1958. Geology of the Mississippi deltaic plain-southeastern Louisiana. US Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Technical Report 2, 482pp.Google Scholar
  20. Maa, P.-Y. and Mehta, A.J. 1991. Soft mud response to water waves. Journal Waterways, Ports, Coastal and Ocean Engineering, 116, 634–650.Google Scholar
  21. Majersky, S., Roberts, H.H, Cunningham, R., Kemp, G.P. and John, C.J. 1997. Facies development in the Wax Lake Outlet delta: Present and future trends. Basin Research Institute Bulletin, 7, 50–66.Google Scholar
  22. Martinez, J.D. and Haag, W.G. 1987. The Atchafalaya River and its basin: A field trip. Guidebook Series No. 4, Louisiana Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Lousiana, 22pp.Google Scholar
  23. McManus, J. 2002. The history of sediment flux to Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana. In Jones, S.J. and Frostick, L.E. (eds) Sediment Flux to Basins: Causes, Controls, and Consequences. Geological Society of London, Special Publication 191, 209–226.Google Scholar
  24. Morgan, J.P., Van Lopik, J.R. and Nichols, J.G. 1953. Occurrence and development of mudflats along the western Louisiana coast. Louisiana State University, Coastal Studies Institute Technical Report 2, 34pp.Google Scholar
  25. Morgan, J.P. and Larimore, P.B. 1957. Change in the Louisiana shoreline. Transactions Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, 7, 303–310.Google Scholar
  26. Mossa, J. and Roberts, H.H. 1990. Synergism of riverine and winter storm-related sediment transport processes in Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. Transactions Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, 40, 635–642.Google Scholar
  27. Mossa, J. 1996. Sediment dynamics in the lowermost Mississippi River. Engineering Geology, 45, 457–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Murray, S.P. 1997. An observational study of the Mississippi-Atchafalaya coastal plume. OCS Study MMS 98-0040, U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans, LA, 513pp.Google Scholar
  29. Myint, S. W. and Walker, N.D. 2002. Quantification of surface suspended sediments along a river dominated coast with NOAA AVHRR and SeaWiFS measurements, Louisiana, USA. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 23, 3229–3249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nittrouer, C.A., Kuehl, S.A., DeMaster, D.J. and Kowsmann, R.O. 1986. The deltaic nature of Amazon shelf sedimentation. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 97, 444–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Roberts, H.H. 1997. Dynamic changes of the Holocene Mississippi river delta plain: the delta cycle. Journal of Coastal Research, 13, 605–627.Google Scholar
  32. Roberts, H.H., Adams, R.D. and Cunningham, R.H.W. 1980. Evolution of sand-dominant subaerial phase, Atchafalaya Delta, Louisiana. American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 64, 264–279.Google Scholar
  33. Roberts, H.H., Walker, N.D., Cunningham, R., Kemp, G.P. and Majersky, S. 1997. Evolution of sedimentary architecture and surface morphology: Atchafalaya and Wax Lake deltas, Louisiana. Transactions Gulf Coast Association of Geologic Societies, 48, 477–484.Google Scholar
  34. Roberts, H.H., Beaubouef, R.T., Walker, N.D., Stone, G.W., Bentley, S., Sheremet, A. and van Heerden, I. 2003. Sand-rich bayhead deltas in Atchafalaya Bay (Louisiana): Winnowing by cold front forcing. Coastal Sediments’ 03, Clearwater, Florida, 1–15.Google Scholar
  35. Rouse, L.J., Jr., Roberts, H.H. and Cunningham, R.H.W. 1978. Satellite observation of the subaerial growth of Atchafalaya Delta. Louisiana. Geology, 6, 405–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Shaffer, G.P., Sasser, C.E., Gosselink, J.G. and Rejmanek, M. 1992. Vegetation dynamics of islands in the Atchafalaya River delta, Louisiana. Journal of Ecology, 80, 677–687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sheremet, A. and Stone, G.W. 2003. Observations of nearshore wave dissipation over muddy sea beds. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(C11), DOI 10:1029/2003 JC 001885.Google Scholar
  38. Shlemon, R.J. 1975. Subaqueous delta formation-Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana. In Broussard, M.L. (ed) Delta: Models for Exploration. Houston Geological Society, 209–221.Google Scholar
  39. Sterling, G.H. and Strohbeck, E.E. 1975. The failure of the South Pass 70“B” platform in Hurricane Camille. Journal of Petroleum Technology, 27, 263–268.Google Scholar
  40. Suhayda, J.N. 1977. Surface-waves and bottom sediment response. Marine Geotechnology, 2, 135–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Thompson, W.C. 1951. Oceanographic analysis of Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana and adjacent continental shelf area marine pipeline problems. Texas A&M Foundation, Department of Oceanography, Section 2, Project 25, 31pp.Google Scholar
  42. Thompson, W.C. 1955. Sandless coastal terrain of the Atchafalaya Bay area, Louisiana. SEPM Special Publication, 3, 52–76.Google Scholar
  43. US Army Corps of Engineers, 2002. New Orleans District Water Control Section. Available from http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/eng/edhd/wcontrol/discharg.htm.Google Scholar
  44. van Heerden, I.L.I. 1980. Sedimentary responses during flood and non-flood conditions, new Atchafalaya delta, Louisiana. Unpublished MS thesis, Louisiana State University, 76pp.Google Scholar
  45. van Heerden, I.L.I. 1983. Deltaic sedimentation in eastern Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Louisiana State University, 151pp.Google Scholar
  46. van Heerden, I.L. and Roberts, H.H. 1980. The Atchafalaya Delta — Louisiana’s new prograding coast. Transactions Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, 30, 497–506.Google Scholar
  47. van Heerden, I.L.I. and Roberts, H.H. 1988. Facies development of Atchafalaya Delta, Louisiana: a modern bayhead delta. AAPG Bulletin, 72, 439–453.Google Scholar
  48. Walker, N.D. 2001. Tropical storm and hurricane wind effects on water level, salinity and sediment transport in the river-influenced Atchafalaya-Vermilion Bay System, Louisiana, USA. Estuaries, 24, 498–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Walker, N.D. and Hammack, A.B. 1999. Impacts of river discharge and wind forcing on circulation, sediment distribution, sediment flux and salinity changes: Vermilion/Cote Blanche Bay System, Louisiana. Final Report, US Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS, 157pp.Google Scholar
  50. Walker, N.D. and Hammack, A.B. 2000. Impacts of winter storms on circulation and sediment transport: Atchafalaya-Vermilion Bay Region, Louisiana. Journal of Coastal Research, 16, 996–1010.Google Scholar
  51. Wheatcroft, R.A. and Borgeld, J.C. 2000. Oceanic flood deposits on the northern California shelf: large-scale distribution and small-scale physical properties. Continental Shelf Research, 20, 2163–2190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wright, L.D. and Nittrouer, C.A. 1995. Dispersal of river sediments in coastal seas: six contrasting cases. Estuaries, 18, 494–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry H. Roberts
    • 1
  • Nan D. Walker
    • 1
  • Alexandru Sheremet
    • 1
  • Gregory W. Stone
    • 1
  1. 1.Coastal Studies Institute, Department of Oceanography and Coastal SciencesLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

Personalised recommendations