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Coastal plain gradient, part of the overall plate tectonic setting, is one factor that determines estuary volume. Sea level rise over a flat coastal plain on a passive margin like the Gulf of Mexico creates a long estuary with large volume. S. Pacific coast will result in a much smaller estuary volume (Boyd, Dalrymple, and Zaitlin 1992). 3-4. Drowned Glacial Erosion Coasts During the Pleistocene epoch, massive continental glaciers, similar to the present Antarctic and Greenland ice caps, covered broad parts of the continents.

2) Natural diversion occurs when a river shifts to a new, shorter channel to the sea, abandoning its lessefficient former channel. An example of this process is the gradual occupation of the Atchafalaya watershed by the Mississippi River. If this process were to continue to its natural conclusion, the present Balize (“Birdfoot”) delta would be abandoned, causing it to erode at an ever faster rate, while a new delta would form in Atchafalaya Bay (Coleman 1988). The evolution of the Mississippi River is discussed in Chapter 4, paragraph 4-3.

Mississippi River Delta - abandoned distributary 3. Florida Panhandle between Pensacola and Panama City 4. Sargent Beach, TX 5. Field Research Facility, Duck, NC 6. New Jersey shore 7. Island of Hawaii - volcanic and coral sediment supply 8. Hawaiian Islands without presently active volcanoes 9. Alaska river mouths 10. Great Lakes during sustained fall in water levels (Table based on a figure in Curray (1964)) e. Engineering and social implications of sea level change. (1) Eustatic sea level rise.

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