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The Southeastern Coast, Economy
Salt domes, barge traffic, tidelands, phosphate rock, Mississippi River system
Mineral production along the Southeastern Coast is substantial, with oil and natural gas leading the way. Much of the production is offshore, with wells drilled into the Continental Shelf. Salt domes—underground geological formations that trap deposits of petroleum, natural gas, and sulfur—are widespread in the "tidelands,” as the shelf is called. Huge quantities of phosphates (used for fertilizers) are mined, as well as salt and sulfur. Extraction of minerals such as phosphate rock, salt, sulfur, petroleum, and natural gas contributes greatly to the economy.
The economy of the Southeast coastal region benefits from the Intracoastal Waterway , a series of canals and protected water routes extending for about 1,740 km (about 1,080 mi) along the Atlantic Coast and for about 1,770 km (about 1,100 mi) along the Gulf of Mexico coast. Because of modest depth, the waterway is used primarily by barges and small boats. Two-thirds of its traffic is concentrated on the section between Houston, Texas, and the Mississippi River. Key commodities include oil, grain, cotton, sulfur, and petrochemicals. The waterway connects with the Mississippi River system, allowing barge traffic to travel far inland to the extremities of the Mississippi navigational system.
New Orleans, Louisiana, has developed its legacy as a former French colony into a world-renowned tourist destination. In addition, it has used its location at the mouth of the Mississippi River to develop a major port, particularly for trade between the United States and Latin America. Other ports in the region include Mobile, Alabama; Pensacola, Tampa, Miami, and Jacksonville in Florida; and Galveston and Corpus Christi, in Texas.
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