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Seminar Speaker: Dr. Davin Wallace
March 10 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
University of Southern Mississippi-Stennis
Title: Gulf of Mexico coastal environment response to hurricanes, sediment supply variations, and accelerated sea-level rise: Have we passed the tipping point?
Abstract: Many environments along the Gulf of Mexico coastline are rapidly evolving, leading to their characterization as among the most vulnerable shorelines in the United States. Here, we discuss the causes of these dramatic changes through an examination of the Holocene, a time period where hurricanes, sediment supply, and sea-level rise are known to have varied. We will examine the coastal hazards and the dominant physical mechanisms of change in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, highlighting specific case studies from these locales. Along the upper Texas coast, low sediment supply coupled with storm impacts and accelerated sea-level rise over the last 5,000 years has contributed to enhanced erosion. In coastal Louisiana, compaction of organic material has lead to subsidence rates as high as 5 mm/yr over the last 1,500 years. While accelerated sea-level rise and low sediment supply are contributing to erosion of the Mississippi/Alabama barrier chain, Hurricane Katrina caused profound punctuated evolution. In addition to the natural role these processes play in reshaping coastlines, humans have further exacerbated and altered these dynamic systems.