Modeling sediment texture of river-deltaic wetlands in the Lower Barataria Bay and Lower Breton Sound, Louisiana, USA

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© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Wetlands in the Mississippi River Delta Plain (MRDP) have been suffering from a high rate of land loss. Sediment cores have been drilled into the wetlands to understand their growth and degradation and to provide subsurface information for the coastal protection and restoration projects. However, few three-dimensional (3D) stratigraphy models have been developed for the wetlands on a regional scale, due to difficulties in correlating large amount of spatial scattered subsurface data and integrated visualization of stratigraphic features and topobathymetric features. In this study, a 3D model was constructed in the Lower Barataria Bay (LBB) and the Lower Breton Sound (LBS), covering an area of 190 km2 and extending from 0.5 to − 4 m in elevation. Sediment composition (sand%, silt%, and clay%) was spatially interpolated, using a compositional kriging method, extended from ordinary kriging by a log-ratio transformation. Instead of visualizing three composition components independently, sediment composition was translated into sediment texture to be visualized as sediment types. Modeling results intuitively show spatial distribution of stratigraphic features and their spatial relationships with topobathymetric features such as marsh surface, river channel, and dredging channels. Results show a silty depositional package, which consists of crevasse splays and periodic overbank flooding deposits, made up the largest portion of the wetlands. A clayey blanket is observed to cover most part of the LBB and landward side of the LBS. A large area of clayey blanket in the seaward part of the LBS has apparently been eroded away, which is likely caused by coastal reworking processes.

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Geo-Marine Letters

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