They sunk a lot of Southern Louisiana. Read 'Subsidence and Fault Activation Related to Fluid Energy Production, Gulf Coast Basin Project' at usgs.gov, the official Federal Government web site of the United States Geologic Survey.
That is why it floods so often now whenever the wind blows from the South at more than a few miles an hour. The Government civil servant geologists have no reason to lie when they wrote that some land around oil and gas fields has sunk as much as 1 meter as the faults slipped from taking the oil and gas out. They even have a graphic right on the front page of the report! They have an aerial photo of a new lake over by Texas right over an oil field. They ruled out wave action, canal digging, and salt water damage as the main cause by using radiocarbon dating of soil samples. No local mass media will touch the story. Oil money still rules Louisiana.
The same thing has happened down in Venezuela. But they don't lie about wave action and erosion causing the wetland loss. They admit that the land has sunk below sea level. Luckily, they don't have hurricane surges to drown people. They just have Hugo Chavez who can't keep the electricity on in a country sitting on the largest reserve of hydrocarbons on the Earth, the Orinoco heavy oil deposit.
Imagine what would happen if the Mississippi River levee protecting the East Bank of the City of New Orleans failed, or was breached by a terrorist truck bomb. Unlike the Katrina flood water, the water in the Mississippi contains silt, a lot of silt. And the River water level is far higher than the water in Lake Pontchartrain during the few days after Katrina, when the Lake water was flowing through the openings in the failed outfall canal flood walls.
Suppose a wayward barge hit the levee and then got pushed back downriver by the strong current after creating a hole. Unless a large quantity of heavy sandbags could be dumped into the leak within a very short time, the leak might soon become massive. Even if officials had a trillion sandbags ready to deliver to the site of the break, it would be impossible to get them to the breach fast enough to prevent the breach from expanding. Trucks can only empty so fast. It might be possible to slow the flow by beaching empty barges near the breach, but that would be difficult. A plan to try that should be ready now.
Let us suppose that everything failed and that the River poured into New Orleans. The greatly improved levee system would become the enemy. It would hold in water from the Mississippi River until it reached a level when it began to over top the levees. Water in some sections of the city might reach 25 feet deep. Even the CBD might be under 10 feet of water.
Blowing holes in the hurricane protection levees, in an attempt to lower the water level inside them, would create other problems. The more water that flowed through the City, the more silt would settle in it. In a few weeks, New Orleans might be transformed into a wet version of Pompeii.
The amount of silt left behind by the Mississippi could be vast. Worse, it would be everywhere. I especially worry about the drainage system. Would silt fill up the extensive underground drainage pipes and giant covered canals. Certainly a LOT of River silt would get down there. We can only hope that since the pumping system would have been destroyed by the flooding, a lot of sand would not have been sucked into the system, clogging it up. Yet every time it rained after the water was pumped out, sand would flow down the drains. They could carry very little water under such conditions. Most of the City would flood in any substantial rain event. The water might be 8 feet deep in many areas for days after a big rain because the water would flow there from higher land along the River.
How would the City function after such a disaster? How much of the City would be covered with so much silt that it would not be cost effective to remove it. Depending on the depth of the silt, it might only be feasible to excavate only the part of the City which is above sea level (and the rest of the silt) and simply abandon the rest. How much would it cost to remove billions of tons of silt and then unstop thousands of miles of underground drainage pipes. I suspect that the cost would FAR exceed the value of the entire City. It would depend on the depth of the silt left behind by the flood. So breaking the levees to lower the level of the water in the City, before the River goes below a certain level, might be a big mistake.
Since no city that is substantially below sea level has ever flooded from a river that is as silt laden as the Mississippi, we won't know the extent of the damage until it happens. One thing is certain. If it ever happens, the damage will be so costly, and the loss of life potentially so great, that most residents of the City will never return, if for no other reason that it will take so long to get the drainage and electric systems functioning again, that they will have established productive lives elsewhere. Would the Federal Government even be able to fund such an effort that would easily be in the hundreds of billions of dollars? Hopefully, we will never find out, but it would be worth some government research to develop a plan to deal with the results, should it ever happen.
Super strong levees and flood walls along the Mississippi River, so as to guarantee that they remain intact, would be the best investment the USA could make. Katrina should have taught everyone that lesson. I live 20 feet above sea level near Slidell, out of all flood zones, so the River can't get to me. But I still bought flood insurance. The 10,000 year rain event, or a category 5 hurricane can hit any time. You would need 28 foot high levees to stop the flooding from a large category 5 hurricane going in just West of New Orleans. Private companies don't sell private flood insurance for a reason.
Thank God we aren't the ONLY city on the map. Can we get some hackers to add a bunch more cities to it? Oh, what exactly is a hipster? It sounds like something from the black and white film era.
You have to admit, that star naming thing was one of the best cons ever invented.
NASA may soon decide to build their next big rocket at Michoud. The decision is scheduled for the end of June (but could slip until September). Should they decide to go down what is called the 'in-line Shuttle derived vehicle' route, for the next launch system to replace the Space Shuttle, the new vehicle will consist of a modified external fuel tank with 4 Space Shuttle main engines attached to the bottom of the modified Shuttle external tank. Two solid-fuel booster rockets, similar to those used on the Shuttle, will be attached to the sides of the fuel tank. The upper stage will probably use the Apollo era J2X engine, for which a new test stand is being built at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The J2X, like the Space Shuttle engines, burns liquid hydrogen with liquid oxygen. No smoking!
The new launch vehicle will evolve to eventually be used to send people to intercept an asteroid, and land people on a moon of Mars.
A manned landing on the surface of Mars is far more difficult because Mars has an atmosphere. Getting down to the surface through that thin atmosphere is tough. And a lot of rocket thrust is needed to get off the planet because it is far larger than our Moon. A large vehicle is needed in order to hold enough fuel to do that. It won't happen for a long time, at least 20 years.
Whatever rocket is needed, Michoud is currently the only plant with enough vertical clearance to build large diameter rockets. (They could build another one, the Government is pretty wasteful.)
SpaceX has a plan for a giant, Saturn V sized rocket with a first stage probably powered by kerosene and liquid oxygen. Where it would be built is an open question right now. Their web site has a lot of REALLY COOL videos you can watch. Elon Musk, the owner of SpaceX, is the inventor of Pay Pal. His company has already orbited and landed a private space capsule - NOT an easy task. He is tooling up to build 400 rocket engines a year! Only the USA, Russia, and China have orbited and recovered a capsule that can hold people. It shows you what a determined genius can still get done in the USA.
He should donate the proceeds from the book to the City of New Orleans as reparation for all the damage his 'contractor' buddies did to public facilities throughout the City. Only C. Ray, could accomplish negative work.
And he will soon be (maybe already is) on the board of Glencore, the secretive commodities trading giant. Look out world! They are about to go public with an IPO. So if you ever wanted to help pillage the third world, you will soon get your chance. Invest a few million and you can rub elbows with Tony Blair, and the London bankster crowd that might yet bring down the UK's entire financial system.
Make all the private jet crowd walk through the renovated terminal during the next Super Bowl using the steel Mardi Gras barricades to block all other routes from the airfield. They will like the architecture.
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