Crevasses on the Lower Course of the Mississippi River

by Donald W. Davis, Louisiana State Univ, Baton Rouge, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93

Abstract: Before construction of artificial levees, crevasses were a common event along the Mississippi River. They directed sediment out of the main channel and reduced flood stage down river. Archaeological evidence suggests these geomorphic features were a natural phenomenon that often remained open and functional for several hundred years. Between 1850 and 1927, more than 1,000 crevasses punctured the lower Mississippi's levee. These fissures served as natural safety valves in directing flood waters away from the main channel. In retrospect, an active system of artificial diversions would have replenished the marshes and offset the accumulated damage caused by leveeing the Mississippi River. Even though contemplated in 1829, 1850, 1866 and 1874, a comparable plan is being proposed for Louisiana's disappearing wetlands. Crevasse history provides guidelines for current discussions disappearing wetlands. Crevasse history provides guidelines for current discussions concerning controlled deposition through artificial channels and provides significant baseline information on a crevasse's role in building new land.

Subject Headings: Rivers and streams | Cracking | Wetlands (coastal) | Floods | Levees and dikes | Construction management | Sediment | Archaeology | Mississippi River | North America | Louisiana | United States | Mississippi

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