Yao, Q.; Liu, K.-B., and Ryu, J., 2018. Multi-proxy Characterization of Hurricane Rita and Ike Storm Deposits in a Coastal Marsh in the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Southwestern Louisiana. In: Shim, J.-S.; Chun, I., and Lim, H.S. (eds.), Proceedings from the International Coastal Symposium (ICS) 2018 (Busan, Republic of Korea). Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 85, pp. 841–845. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
In 2005 and 2008, Hurricanes Rita and Ike made landfalls as category 3 and 2 hurricanes to the west of Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge (RWR) in southwestern Louisiana. In 2013, three ~30 cm sediment monoliths dominated by brown clay were recovered along a ~30 m transect perpendicular to the shoreline from the RWR. Each monolith contains two distinct light-colored calcareous storm deposits that are attributable to these two landfalling hurricanes. Loss-onignition and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyses were performed on all three sediment monoliths to study the sedimentological and geochemical characteristics of these two storm deposits. The geochemical results show that the storm deposits are characterized by higher-than-average values of Ca, Sr, Zr, and carbonates and low percentages of water and organics. In addition, remote sensing images show that the rate of average shoreline retreat at the RWR is ~14.5 m/yr from 1998 to 2017, and 19 m/year and 25.5 m/yr during the Hurricane Rita and Ike years, respectively. Both loss-on-ignition and XRF results also show that despite being a stronger storm, the Hurricane Rita layers are much thinner than those of Hurricane Ike in all monoliths. Remote sensing data support our interpretation that Hurricane Rita caused significant shoreline erosion and coastal recession in 2005, rendering the sampling locations at least 30 m closer to the ocean and thereby more susceptible to storm surges when Hurricane Ike struck in 2008. Thus, these results suggest that site-to-sea distance is an important factor in determining the thicknesses of storm deposits in coastal wetlands, particularly along shorelines undergoing rapid marine transgression.