Mississippi River hydrology may hold a possible answer for protecting fragile Gulf wetlands.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of USGS
Gulf Oil Spill: Mississippi River Hydrology May Help Reduce Oil Onshore
Scientists are currently tracking the effects of the oil spill on the wetlands of the Louisiana coast. Robert Twilley and Guerry Holm of Louisiana State University (LSU) want to know more about the role the Mississippi River will play in keeping it from contaminating the coast and wetlands in this part of the Gulf of Mexico.
These scientists say that the slope of the water's surface from a river delta to the sea and the time it takes water to move through a wetland at a river's mouth are important to understanding how delta wetlands will respond to the oil spill.
"Since the Mississippi River is currently at a relatively high stage, we expect the river's high volume of freshwater to act as a hydrologic barrier, keeping oil from moving into the Wax Lake Delta from the sea," says Twilley.
Twilley and Holm are testing the plants and soils of freshwater and saltwater Louisiana wetlands to learn of any damage.
"The Mississippi River's 'plumbing' provides a potential benefit to reducing the movement of oil onshore from shelf waters," says Twilley.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!
You might also be interested in:
Rivers are very important to Earth because they are major forces that shape the landscape. Also, they provide transportation and water for drinking, washing and farming. Rivers can flow on land or underground...more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. "The data will help give us a better road map to what a future...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core, and makes up about 84 percent of the Earth's volume. The mantle is made up of many distinct portions or...more
Some geologic faults that appear strong and stable, slip and slide like weak faults, causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults in a new way to figure out why. In theory,...more
The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more
Studying tree rings doesn't only tell us the age of that tree. Tree rings also show what climate was like for each year of a tree's life, which means they can tell us about climates of the past and about...more
Earth's first life form may have developed between the layers of a chunk of mica sitting like a multilayered sandwich in primordial waters, according to a new hypothesis. The mica hypothesis, which was...more