Study: Gulf bay flooding events are normal

Oct. 24, 2006 at 3:02 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Researchers say every U.S. Gulf Coast bay in Texas and Louisiana is vulnerable to significant flooding and expansion within the next 100 years.

"Looking back over the past 10,000 years, we find the evolution of each of these bays is punctuated by rapid flooding events that result in landward shifts in bay environments of tens of kilometers and increases in bay area up to 30 percent within a century or two," said John Anderson, professor of Earth science at Rice University in Houston.

"These flooding events can be triggered by either a rapid increase in sea level or a rapid decrease in the amount of silt flowing into the bay, and there's ample evidence to suggest that both of those will occur in each of these bays during the coming century," he added.

Anderson's results are based on his research group's analysis of dozens of sediment core samples drilled during the past decade from Galveston, Corpus Christi and Matagorda bays, all in Texas; Calcasieu Lake in Louisiana; and Sabine Lake, which straddles the Texas-Louisiana border.

He presented his findings Monday in Philadelphia, during the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

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