Sediment Accretion Rates and Spatial Patterns in the Wax Lake Delta, LA 2020

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Rising sea levels and an increasing frequency of storm events has put deltas worldwide at risk. However, sediment deposition from fluvial sources can build land in deltas and counteract this modern trend of land loss. Understanding sediment transport and deposition patterns in coastal deltas thus represents a promising approach to maximizing their future survival. This lidar dataset was collected as part of an NCALM Seed grant for Justin Nghiem at the California Institute of Technology to help understand modern coastal sediment accretion rates and spatial patterns in the Wax Lake Delta, LA. The study area is located southwest of Morgan City, LA and covers approximately 53 km2.

Note about point classifications: Ground classification was done using a morphological filter in Terrascan and points included in class 2. Bathymetry points classification was done on returns from green laser i.e. channel 3 over the waterbody. Due to the characteristics of the water body (murky water, dark bottom), it cannot be ascertained with 100% certainty that the laser returns from shots of green channel that penetrated the water column, are from the bottom. The lowest returns were classified as the bathymetry points (class 40) as they have the highest probability of representing the water body bottom. All the other green channel points (channel 3) over the water body were classified separately in class 9 as water points. The points over the water surface from the IR laser channels (channel 2 and 3) were classified in class 41 as water surface. Class 1 includes the unclassified points from Channels 1,2 and 3.

Therefore, point classifications are as follows:
  • 1: Unclassified - all channels
  • 2: Ground - all channels
  • 9: Water - from channel 3 (green)
  • 40: Bathymetric Points - channel 3 (green)
  • 41: Water Surface Points - channel 2 and 3 (IR channels)
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