Aerial and surface observations around the Mississippi Delta show a great quantity of suspended sediment in the water close inshore. The amount of material in suspension, controlled chiefly by volume of river flow and distance from source, in general decreases to a small value a few miles off shore, but under certain conditions turbid water extends to sea for distances of at least 65 miles as long plumes off the mouths of the important passes. Most of these plumes have relatively sharp boundaries. The direction of seaward distribution of the turbid plumes is controlled chiefly by the wind and to less extent by semi-permanent currents, tidal currents, and by river flow. The intensity of surface turbidity generally can be correlated with the rate of deposition in any area.

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