NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana State University geologist who shed light on the deep underground forces that contribute to the state’s rapidly vanishing coastal wetlands has died.

Roy Dokka died Monday, LSU officials confirmed Wednesday. An exact cause of death was not immediately released. He was 59.

Dokka gained prominence by questioning the science underpinning much of Louisiana’s massive and urgent coastal restoration plans. He complained that large-scale plans were moving forward even though many of the processes causing devastating land loss and subsidence in coastal Louisiana were, in his view, not acknowledged.

Coastal Louisiana, the home of New Orleans, is at the center of a vigorous scientific and socio-political debate about rising sea levels, flooding and the future of one of the nation’s most important port and oil regions. Dokka’s work was considered important in that debate. Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost about 2,100 square miles of coast due to a host of problems, from levee building to deforestation.

To this debate, Dokka added his studies of the deep geologic forces at play under the soft delta muds of Louisiana. He argued that deep-seated faulting and the sheer load of sediment coming down the Mississippi River had caused Louisiana to slowly sink into the Gulf of Mexico. His theories posed a problem for Louisiana because he foresaw that the sinking would continue indefinitely.

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