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Louisiana Slipping Into The Gulf

MSNBC: A new report by scientists studying Louisiana's sinking coast says the land here is not just sinking, it's sliding ever so slowly into

MSNBC:

A new report by scientists studying Louisiana's sinking coast says the land here is not just sinking, it's sliding ever so slowly into the Gulf of Mexico.

The new findings may add a kink to plans being drawn up to build bigger and better levees to protect this historic city and Cajun bayou culture.

If the land is shifting - even slightly - engineers may need to take that into consideration as they build new levees and draw lines across the coast to identify areas that should and shouldn't be protected.

Researchers have known for years that the swampy land under south Louisiana is sinking (potholed streets and wobbly porches and floors are visible evidence of that) but a lateral movement of the land into the Gulf enters largely unstudied terrain.

The report, which appeared in December's Geophysical Research Letters, a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Geophysical Union, says the bedrock under heavily populated southeast Louisiana is breaking away at a glacial speed - at the pace fingernails grow.

While that may seem trifling in the big picture, Dokka said engineers need to include this reality into their plans for levees, floodgates and other projects.

Windell Curole, a levee and hurricane expert who is on a state board developing a master protection plan, said the phenomenon of sinking, or subsidence, has not been "included in a big way" in the new plan but that planners are "aware of it."


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