Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike deposited large quantities of sediment on coastal wetlands after making landfall in the northern Gulf of Mexico. We sampled sediments deposited on the wetland surface throughout the entire Louisiana and Texas depositional surfaces of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and the Louisiana portion of Hurricane Ike. We used spatial interpolation to model the total amount and spatial distribution of inorganic sediment deposition from each storm. The sediment deposition on coastal wetlands was an estimated 68, 48, and 21 million metric tons from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Gustav, respectively. The spatial distribution decreased in a similar manner with distance from the coast for all hurricanes, but the relationship with distance from the storm track was more variable between events. The southeast-facing Breton Sound estuary had significant storm-derived sediment deposition west of the storm track, whereas sediment deposition along the south-facing coastline occurred primarily east of the storm track. Sediment organic content, bulk density, and grain size also decreased significantly with distance from the coast, but were also more variable with respect to distance from the track. On average, eighty percent of the mineral deposition occurred within 20 km from the coast, and 58% was within 50 km of the track. These results highlight an important link between tropical cyclone events and coastal wetland sedimentation, and are useful in identifying a more complete sediment budget for coastal wetland soils.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Tweel, A. W., & Turner, R. (2012). Landscape-Scale Analysis Of Wetland Sediment Deposition From Four Tropical Cyclone Events. Plos One, 7 (11) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0050528