geology analysis of hurrican katrina

Objectives: This module aims to enhance students’ understanding of the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Katrina on the New Orleans flood protection systems.

Case History:

Katrina remains one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history, with more than 1,800 lives lost and damages estimated at over $100 billion. When the levees failed, about 80 percent of New Orleans flooded. More than 1 million people across the Gulf Coast were forced to leave their homes — many never returned.

An independent levee investigation team final report was issued on July 31, 2006. This report contained the observations and findings of an investigation by an independent team of professional engineers and researchers with a wide array of expertise (Report Link)

Please review the following materials:

  • Overview of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath (Chapter 2, posted)
  • Geology of the New Orleans Regions (Chapter 3 )
  • History of the New Orleans Flood Protection System (Chapter 4,)
  • Summary of Engineering Lessons (Chapter 11, posted )
  • Sea-Level Rise and Subsidence: Implications for Flooding in New Orleans, Louisiana (USGS Paper)


The geology underlying New Orleans is very complex due to both natural and man-made processes.The Mississippi river is the most dominant natural feature shaping the geology of

New Orleans

. Land subsidence and sea level rise are the supporting natural processes. Settlement and erosion characteristics of the sediments were altered by the manmade processes of urbanization and dewatering. The major design flaws of the levees, intensity of Hurricane Katrina and the coupling of these various mechanisms led to one of the most severe crises in the history of the United States. Hurricane Katrina was a major disaster from which the city of New Orleans may never recover.However, engineers and geologists can learn from the failure and try not to repeat the mistakes of their predecessors.

Please put together a technical note (4 to 6 singles spaced pages including the figures and tables) summarizing your opinions and suggestions.

In your work, please do not copy-paste from external sources, please do not pull text verbatim from other sources, and please make proper citations.

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