2021 CSDMS meeting-141


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Modeling the Lafourche Delta network in the Mississippi Delta Complex

Byongsuk Chun, University of Arkansas Fayetteville Arkansas, United States. bchun@uark.edu
John Shaw, University of Arkansas Fayetteville Arkansas, United States. shaw84@uark.edu
Elizabeth Chamberlain, Lamont-Doherty Earth Obs Palisades New York, United States. elizabeth.chamberlain@vanderbilt.edu

The formation of the branching channel network is controlled mainly by water discharge and the boundary shape of receiving basin. The understanding of channel morphology is important because it controls the sediment diversion in a river delta, and determines the sustainability of coastal zones. Numerical models of river deltas have improved remarkably over the past two decades. However, the long-term (millennial scale) simulation of real delta systems remains rare. Here, we attempt to reconstruct the Lafourche Delta channel network, active 1600-600 years before present, with a simple numerical model (Moving Boundary Model for Distributary Channel Networks MB_DCN). Runs with 10 basin boundary shapes and 6 river discharge rate scenarios using the Moving Boundary Model for Distributary Channel Networks (MB_DCN) show that each scenario produced distinguishing channel characteristics including a complex channel network, diverse progradation rates and channel numbers, and number of bifurcations. For the appropriate basin shapes, reasonable water discharges and common sediment transport parameters, MB_DCN produces a channel network that resembles the Lafourche Delta channel network morphology and progradation rates. Our preliminary results suggest that the basin boundary shape and water discharge are the most important control of the distributary channel network in terms of channel geometry and progradation rates.