Mississippi Deltaic Wetland Survival: Sedimentation Versus Coastal Submergence

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Science  08 Jun 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4653, pp. 1093-1095
DOI: 10.1126/science.224.4653.1093

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Seasonal sedimentation, measured with the aid of artificial marker horizons, was markedly different in deteriorating as compared with stable marshes in the Mississippi River deltaic plain. Deteriorating marshes receive most sediment during storm events, whereas stable marshes receive substantial amounts of sediments during the spring river flood. The deteriorating marshes are accreting at a faster rate (1.5 centimeters per year at streamside, 0.9 centimeter per year at inland areas) than the stable marshes (1.3 centimeters per year at streamside, 0.6 centimeter per year at inland areas). However, relative to local apparent sea-level rise as measured by tide gauges in each area, the deteriorating marshes are not maintaining their intertidal elevation as well as the stable marshes. These results indicate the importance of considering accretion relative to submergence.