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Geology on the Wing Wednesdays #6 – Multiple-inlet barrier system, Barataria Bay, Lousiana

October 12, 2011

OK folks, I am back in action – on the way back from Florida the other weekend I took this photo of Barataria bay for my buddy Nick.  Barataria bay is located just west of the Mississippi Rivera tidal basin behind a multiple-inlet barrier system, and is a great natural laboratory for coastal dynamics.  Nick has published quite a bit on this area, and is really doing some novel science trying to understand the evolution of the inlets during the current transgression.  See his recent paper (pdf) on hurricane failure of low salinity wetlands in a nearby area.  He also has an abstract in the AAPC ICE in Milan in two weeks.

The abstract details how the inlets are constantly in flux (cross section, location, etc.) due to changes in tidal prism associated with transgression.  Note that the tidal limit for this area, even though it is only a 30 cm tide, is waaaaaay up to the north, about 100 km inland.  This is due mostly to the very low gradient of the coastal plain.  The town in the photo, Grand Isle, was made famous during the Macondo spill as a base of operations and media…

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