The Coastal Scene

Mississippi Delta

Mississippi Delta Photo

Flight 51J; 29N, 91.5W, 6 Oct. 1985

Late in the maiden mission of Atlantis, most of the coast of Louisiana lay below the crew as they viewed the scene from the flight deck. A cold front, or "dry northern had crossed the coast the day before, permitting an excellent view of the sediments flowing out of the Mississippi Delta and Barataria Bay; some of these were flowing along the coast to the west, while the finer material near the surface was being blown offshore by the northeasterly winds into the usual eddy field in the northern Gulf of Mexico. An unusual distribution of near-shore muddy water was noted by the crew in the lagoon behind the Bandelier Islands east of the delta, flowing from there into Lake Ponchatrain, north of New Orleans. These waters are normally free of mud from the Mississippi, but with this particular norther, the winds were so strong from the northwest as they crossed the coast that the discharge from the river was blown initially to the east rather than to the southwest.

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