This paper summarizes the results of a comparative bathymetric study encompassing 150 km of the Louisiana barrier-island coast. Bathymetric data surrounding the islands and extending to 12 m water depth were processed from three survey periods: the 1880s, the 1930s, and the 1980s. Digital comparisons between surveys show large-scale, coherent patterns of sea-floor erosion and accretion related to the rapid erosion and disintegration of the islands. Analysis of the sea-floor data reveals two primary processes driving this change: massive longshore transport, in the littoral zone and at shoreface depths; and increased sediment storage in ebb-tidal deltas. Relative sea-level rise, although extraordinarily high in the study area, is shown to be an indirect factor in causing the area's rapid shoreline retreat rates.
Additional publication details
Bathymetric comparisons adjacent to the Louisiana barrier islands: Processes of large-scale change