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California Institute of Technology

Delta-X

Delta-X logo with triangle, X, boats, aircraft, and vegetation in a white circle overlaid over an airborne photo of the Wax Lake Delta emptying out into the ocean

Delta-X completed its Spring campaign! Read about it on our blog.

River deltas and their wetlands are drowning as a result of sea level rise and reduced sediment inputs. The Delta-X mission will determine which parts will survive and continue to grow, and which parts will be lost.


The Mississippi River Delta in the United States is growing and sinking in different areas.


Google Earth image of the Gulf Coast with a blue outline around the Atchafalaya Basin to the west and a red outline around the Terrebonne Basin to the east

Delta-X studies the Atchafalaya Basin (blue on the left), which is growing, and the Terrebonne Basin (red on the right), which is sinking.


Two women and a man operate field instruments in an orange airboat

A field campaign is conducted to measure the flow of water, and the sediment it transports, across the region.


A white aircraft flies over the delta

An airborne campaign takes large scale measurements to estimate water and sediment flows, and vegetation production.



These measurements calibrate hydrological and ecological models that scientists use to understand and forecast land gain or loss in deltas. The figure above illustrates sediment transport in the Wax Lake Delta.


Funded by the Earth Venture Suborbital (EVS-3) program, Delta-X's 5-year mission will operate from 2019–2023.

How do deltas grow? Learn more about the mission.