Figure 1. Satellite image of the Mississippi River Birdsfoot delta. Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

In Louisiana, and in many places, the term “delta” is widely used. That’s mainly because we live on a delta – the Mississippi River Delta – and much of the land that comprises coastal Louisiana was built by the Mississippi and other rivers creating new deltas over millennia.

From a more technical standpoint, identifying what a delta is and its various components may not be as easy for most people. Many people picture a delta as a place where a river meets open water, and land protrudes outward as sediment accumulates near the mouth. What some may not know is that there is more to a delta than what we see in satellite images. Some of the most important parts of a delta are below the surface.

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