'A Pile' — Not Layers — of Leaves

A Look Back

Perhaps a review — and awareness — of the past may make us better geologists in the future.


"Sedimentation Framework of the Modern Mississippi Delta," by Fisk, McFarlan and Kolb, Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, June 1954.

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Perhaps a review — and awareness — of the past may make us better geologists in the future.


"Sedimentation Framework of the Modern Mississippi Delta," by Fisk, McFarlan and Kolb, Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, June 1954.

The prior concept of a systematic arrangement of top set, foreset and bottom set beds is shown to be invalid for large scale features such as the Mississippi Delta.

" … Sediments of the river mouth region are arranged in leaf-like form, with the deposits of the natural levees and associated channels forming the veins and veinlets, and those of the marshes representing the inter-vein portions of the leaf. Subsidence and shifting of the river channels, combined with long-continued deposition, have created a 'pile of leaves' structure beneath the extensive deltaic plain of the Mississippi."

This was an important and early paper that demonstrated the complex and variable sediment patterns in a "bird foot" delta — a delta where sediment inflow is overpowering wave action on a shallow shelf.


Rufus LeBlanc, Sidney Powers medalist, spent 40 more years at Shell's Bellaire Research, powerfully expanding and amplifying this pioneering work by Fisk, et al.

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