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ABSTRACT

Natural sediment compaction in deltaic plains influences subsidence rates and the evolution of deltaic morphology. Determining compaction rates requires detailed knowledge of subsurface geotechnical properties and depositional history, neither of which is often readily available. To overcome this lack of knowledge, we numerically forward model the incremental sedimentation and compaction of stochastically generated stratigraphies with geotechnical properties typical of modern depositional environments in the Mississippi River delta plain. Using a Monte Carlo approach, the range of probable compaction rates for stratigraphies with compacted thicknesses <150 m and accumulation times <20 kyr. varies, but maximum values rarely exceed a few mm yr−1. The fastest compacting stratigraphies are composed primarily of peat and bar sand, whereas the slowest compacting stratigraphies are composed of prodelta mud and natural levee deposits. These results suggest that compaction rates can significantly influence vertical and lateral stratigraphic trends during deltaic evolution.