Mississippi Offshore Sediment Resources Inventory: Late Quaternary Stratigraphic Evolution of the Inner Shelf

Personnel

Investigator: Davin Wallace
Graduate students: Clayton Dike, Nina Schulze, Robert Hollis
Collaborators: Mike Miner

Funding

Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) M16AC00012

Project Summary



Understanding the availability, nourishment quality, and location of sand resources is imperative for sustainability of the Northern Gulf of Mexico coast. Barrier islands, coastal marshes and bay environments not only serve as popular tourism destinations and support critical infrastructure, they also provide protection from the potentially devastating impacts of storms, relative sea level rise, and oil spills. This research directly addresses the past responses of coastal systems to these forcing mechanisms and will improve our predictive capabilities for future impacts. The overall goal of this study is to provide a better understanding of the geologic evolution of late Quaternary deposits offshore Mississippi and to delineate and develop reserves estimates (volumes) of restoration quality sand resources for discrete sand bodies located on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). We propose an investigation first synthesizing the available peer-reviewed literature and unpublished data from local and federal agencies from the northern Gulf of Mexico. After initial quality assessment, existing data will be interpreted in order to determine data gaps (either in quality or spatial coverage). New data will be collected in the form of low frequency seismic, high frequency CHIRP, and sediment cores. All data will then be synthesized, compared, interpreted, and presented in a geospatial context. The expected findings will provide both a comprehensive assessment of available sand resources, in addition to improving our understanding of barrier stability, shoreline response to accelerated RSL rise, backbarrier-sedimentation dynamics, and fluvial deltaic geomorphology by examining the evolution of late Quaternary geologic systems deposited and preserved on the Northern Gulf of Mexico shelf.

Objectives / Hypotheses

The overall goal of this study is to provide a better understanding of the geologic evolution of late Quaternary deposits offshore Mississippi and to delineate and develop reserves estimates (volumes) of restoration quality sand resources for discrete sand bodies located on the OCS. The main hypothesis for this proposed work is that extensive lowstand systems exist on the outer northern Gulf of Mexico shelf, which transitioned to back-stepping transgressive systems during the early to late Holocene. These later systems provide analogues for future change along the Mississippi coast. By quantifying the spatial and temporal patterns of deposition in a source to sink framework, this investigation will also yield high-resolution estimates of sand volumes.

Products

Supplementary Data

Coastal Hazards Research Lab
Division of Marine Science
School of Ocean Science and Technology
University of Southern Mississippi
1020 Balch Blvd., Stennis Space Center, MS 39529