This Landsat image of 3 October 2011 shows the Mississippi River Delta, where the largest river in the United States empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
In this false-colour image, land vegetation appears pink, while the sediment in the surrounding waters are bright blue and green. The delta is known as the ‘bird-foot’ delta because of the shape created by the channels extending outward.
The size of the Mississippi River Delta built over millions of years owing to sediment deposition. The tons of sediment carried by the river system created the wetlands in southern Louisiana, which are home to many endangered species and help to protect the mainland from hurricane winds by acting like speed bumps.
Over the last several decades, however, the delta’s sediment load has been drastically reduced by natural and man-made factors. Extensive oil and gas extraction causes the subsidence of the delta and wetlands, and rising sea levels increase erosion as the fresh water vegetation dies due to the influx of salt water.
Currently, a chunk of land the size of a football field is lost about every half an hour.
(Source : , via geargent)