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Seafloor change around the Mississippi barrier islands, 1920 to 2016—The influence of storm effects on inlet and island morphodynamics

January 22, 2020

The Mississippi Barrier Islands in the northern Gulf of Mexico experienced high rates of spatial change over recorded history. Wave-induced sediment transport induced island migration, landward retreat, and inlet evolution. These processes can be measured using repeat bathymetric surveys to analyze elevation change over time. This study analyzes digital elevation models created from three time periods where bathymetric data have been collected: the 1920s, 2009, and 2016. The models are compared to assess volumetric change between surveys and characterize morphologic responses to natural and human-influenced processes. Although all the islands within the study area experienced a loss of area over the period of study, the nearshore and tidal inlets experience both accretion and erosion that vary spatially and temporally. Major morphologic changes include westward island migration, expanding ebb-tidal deltas, and changes in inlet dimensions. This study is a collaboration between the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Park Service to establish baseline physical and pre-restoration morphologic conditions preceding a major restoration of the islands as part of the Mississippi Coastal Improvement Project.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Seafloor change around the Mississippi barrier islands, 1920 to 2016—The influence of storm effects on inlet and island morphodynamics
DOI 10.3133/ofr20191140
Authors James G. Flocks, Noreen A. Buster, Owen T. Brenner
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2019-1140
Index ID ofr20191140
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center