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Vol 441|1 June 2006 Subsidence and flooding in New Orleans

Summary: Vol 441|1 June 2006
Subsidence and flooding in New Orleans
A subsidence map of the city offers insight into the failure of the levees during Hurricane Katrina.
It has long been recognized that New Orleans
is subsiding and is therefore susceptible to cat-
astrophic flooding. Here we present a new
subsidence map for the city, generated from
space-based synthetic-aperture radar mea-
surements, which reveals that parts of New
Orleans underwent rapid subsidence in the
three years before Hurricane Katrina struck in
August 2005. One such area is next to the Mis-
sissippi River­Gulf Outlet (MRGO) canal,
where levees failed during the peak storm
surge: the map indicates that this weakness
could be explained by subsidence of a metre or
more since their construction.
To make the subsidence map, we used 33
scenes recorded from Canada's RADARSAT


Source: Amelung, Falk - Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami
Miami, University of - Geodesy Laboratory


Collections: Geosciences