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The morphodynamics and internal structure of intertidal fine-gravel dunes: Hills Flats, Severn Estuary, UK

Carling, P.A.; Radecki-Pawlik, A.; Williams, J.J.; Rumble, B.; Meshkova, L.; Bell, P.; Breakspear, R.. 2006 The morphodynamics and internal structure of intertidal fine-gravel dunes: Hills Flats, Severn Estuary, UK. Sedimentary Geology, 183 (3-4). 159-179. 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2005.07.007

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Abstract/Summary

In the macrotidal Severn estuary, UK, the dynamics of intertidal fine-gravel dunes were investigated. These dunes are migrating across a bedrock platform. Systematic observations were made of hydraulic climate, geometry, migration rates and internal sedimentary structures of the dunes. During spring tides, the ebb flow is dominant, dunes grow in height and have ebb orientated geometry with bedrock floors in the troughs. During neap tides, a weak flood flow may dominate. Dunes then are flood orientated or symmetrical. Neap dune heights decrease and the eroded sediment is stored in the dune troughs where the bedrock becomes blanketed by muddy gravel. During spring tides, instantaneous bed shear stresses reach 8 N m− 2, sufficient to disrupt a 9 mm-gravel armour layer. However, a sustained bed shear stress of 4 N m− 2 is required to initiate dune migration at which time the critical depth-mean velocity is 1 m s− 1. Ebb and flood inequalities in the bed shear stress explain the changes in dune asymmetry and internal structures. During flood tides, the crests of the dunes reverse such that very mobile sedimentary ‘caps’ overlie a more stable dune ‘core’. Because ebb tides dominate, internal structures of the caps often are characterised by ebb orientated steep open-work foresets developed by strong tidal currents and some lower angle crossbeds deposited as weaker currents degrade foresets. The foresets forming the caps may be grouped into cosets (tidal bundles) and are separated from mud-infused cores of crossbeds that lie below, by reactivation and erosion surfaces blanketed by discontinuous mud drapes. The cores often exhibit distinctive muddy toe sets that define the spacing of tidal cosets.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2005.07.007
Programmes: POL Programmes
ISSN: 00370738
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 21 Aug 2012 08:53
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/19312

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