Analysis of a series of historical bathymetric and shoreline surveys along the Louisiana coast west of the Mississippi River mouth detected a large area of deposition in water depths of 2.0-8.5 m offshore of a 9-km- wide tidal inlet, the Cat Island Pass/Wine Island Pass system. A 59.9 ?? 106 m3 sandy deposit formed from the 1930s-1980s, spanning 27 km in the alongshore direction, delineating the transport pathway for sediment bypassing offshore of the inlet on the shoreface. Bypassing connected the shorefaces of two barrier island systems, the Isles Dernieres and the Bayou Lafourche. The processes responsible for formation of this deposit are not well understood, but sediment-transport modeling suggests that sediment is transported primarily by wind-driven coastal currents during large storms and hurricanes. Deposition appears to be related to changes in shoreline orientation, closing of transport pathways into a large bay to the east and the presence of tidal inlets. This newly documented type of bypassing, an offshore bypassing of the inlet system, naturally nourished the immediate downdrift area, the eastern Isles Dernieres, where shoreface and shoreline erosion rates are about half of pre-bypassing rates. Erosion rates remained the same farther downdrift, where bypassing has not yet reached. As this offshore bypassing continues, the destruction of the Isles Dernieres will be slowed.
Additional publication details
Massive sediment bypassing on the lower shoreface offshore of a wide tidal inlet - Cat Island Pass, Louisiana