Movie:Sedimentation in Wax Lake during Rita

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Information Page: Sedimentation in Wax Lake during Rita

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Erosion and Sedimentation in Wax lake delta due to hurricane Rita



Key Attributes

Domain: coastal
Keywords: erosion, sedimentation, hurricane, delta
Model name: Delft3D
Name: Fei, Xing
Where: Wax lake delta, Atachafalaya Bay, Louisiana
When: Sept 18-29, 2005


Short Description

Grade level: High (9-12), Under graduate (13-16), Graduate / Professional

Statement: Sedimentation and Erosion due to hurricane Rita 2005

Abstract: Hurricane Rita was an intense tropical cyclone, which occurred in September 2005, a few weeks after hurricane Katrina. It was a really intense event, with high sustained winds (upto 38 m/s) and waves in the Gulf of Mexico were observed to be over 6 m high. The hurricane made landfall in Texas on September 24th, directly west of the area shown in this simulation.

This animation shows results of a Delft3D simulation to study the effects of Hurricane Rita on the Wax Lake delta in Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana (USA). The model domain is 25 by 30km. We are showing a set of parameters of this hurricane event to compare the erosion and sedimentation that occurred cumulatively over the entire event (this animation), the water level and wave height (other animations in the EKT repository). Sedimentation or erosion of sand in the Wax lake delta is rather low under normal conditions, perhaps a few cm's transported by the fastest ebb and flood tide currents.

On September 24th 2005 hurricane Rita approaches and sedimentation and erosion become much more dramatic. When the hurricane makes landfall, the delta is inundated by 2-3 m of water and waves become as high as 1.6m. Bottom shear stress is then high and sediment can be easily transported. Note that erosion and sedimentation happen simultaneously; near the edges of channels there is rapid erosion (upto 40 cm over the entire storm), while nearby sediments are being deposited on the islands and bars. The erosion and sedimentation pattern is influenced by the exact storm track of this particular hurricane, the angle at which the waves apporach the coast determine the areas of most rapid change.

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