Implications of texture and erodibility for sediment retention in receiving basins of coastal Louisiana diversions

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© 2015 by the authors. Although the Mississippi River deltaic plain has been the subject of abundant research over recent decades, there is a paucity of data concerning field measurement of sediment erodibility in Louisiana estuaries. Two contrasting receiving basins for active diversions were studied: West Bay on the western part of Mississippi River Delta and Big Mar, which is the receiving basin for the Caernarvon freshwater diversion. Push cores and water samples were collected at six stations in West Bay and six stations in Big Mar. The average erodibility of Big Mar sediment was similar to that of Louisiana shelf sediment, but was higher than that ofWest Bay. Critical shear stress to suspend sediment in both West Bay and Big Mar receiving basins was around 0.2 Pa. A synthesis of 1191 laser grain size data from surficial and down-core sediment reveals that silt (4-63 μm) is the largest fraction of retained sediment in receiving basins, larger than the total of sand (>63 μm) and clay (<4 μm). It is suggested that preferential delivery of fine grained sediment to more landward and protected receiving basins would enhance mud retention. In addition, small fetch sizes and fragmentation of large receiving basins are favorable for sediment retention.

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Water (Switzerland)

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