Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2011 Mississippi River Flood Satellite Images

USGS and NASA satellite images show large amounts of sediment throughout coastal Louisiana as a result of flooding on the Mississippi River, according to the USGS.

Satellite images show three large areas of sediment, or plumes, moving through the floodwaters across Louisiana:

 - The opening of the Bonnet CarrĂ© water control structure caused a plume that is located in Lake Pontchartrain.

 - Another plume was the combined result of the Morganza spillway being opened and flooding on the Atchafalaya River.

 - The third plume can be seen where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico, also known as the Mississippi Delta.

The revealing image can be found on the USGS delta website, by clicking on the sediment plume option on the right hand side. 

The images also illustrate the movement of fresh Mississippi River water into the salty water of Lake Pontchartrain, and ultimately into the Gulf of Mexico.

The satellite images help scientists determine how fast the floodwaters are traveling through Lake Pontchartrain, and how water quality is changing throughout the system.

Similar images helped track an algal bloom that occurred in the lake after the 2008 opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway.

source: USGS press release

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