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Hurricane Katrina Erodes the U.S. Gulf Coast
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
Gulf Coast cities weren’t the only land surfaces to take a beating
from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Barrier islands stretching from
Texas to Florida were also scoured by the wind and waves of the powerful
storm. Permanent changes to the shape and elevation of Horn and Petit
Bois Islands south of Pascagoula, Mississippi, are visible in these
infrared-enhanced images captured by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal
Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The eastern and
western tips of Horn island have been eroded so greatly that they are
now below sea level, their white sandy beaches (August 7 image) now
covered by blue water (September 17 image). The sound (northern) side of
the island is layered with sand, which stands out in grayish-white
against the red of vegetation. On Petit Bois Island, the changes appear
more subtle, but there, too, the red of the island’s vegetation
appears softened by bright sand.
NASA images courtesy Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained courtesy of the NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team