Dynamics of intertidal gravel dunes

Williams, Jonathan; Carling, P. A.; Bell, Paul ORCID: 2006 Dynamics of intertidal gravel dunes. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111 (C6), C06035.

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This paper examines the dynamics of intertidal gravel dunes subjected to high-energy unsteady and reversing tidal currents in the Severn Estuary, UK. The dunes were composed of shale particles with median grain size, D50, around 4 mm and had mean heights and wavelengths of 60 cm and 7 m, respectively. Acoustic instruments were deployed above a dune to measure the streamwise profile and flow turbulence. Radar was used to map a section of the dune field on two occasions. Measurements during the peak spring ebb tides showed that when the measured bed shear stress exceeded the threshold for entrainment of the coarse surface armor, sediments were eroded from the upper surface of the dune. The dune prograded in the direction of the ebb flow a distance 0 (1m), and some eroded sediments were deposited on the stoss slope downstream. The dune was then reworked during the following flood tide to reestablish approximately the same pre-ebb profile shape and location. Radar data showed also that the exposed dunes at low water occupied approximately the same location over a period of 4 days during peak spring tides. The relationship between the depth-mean current and the net volume of dune sediments moved was found to conform to a power law. The predicted critical bed shear stress, .crit, for D50 = 4 mm was approximately 1 N/m2. However, owing to a coarse armor layer on the surface of the dune, a measured .crit value 0 (4N/m2) was required to initiate dune erosion. Although the Van Rijn formula was found to overestimate both the height and wavelength of dunes at this site, the dunes appear to be equilibrium bed forms controlled by local hydraulics and sediment supply. Sediment transport predicted by bed load formula were within a factor of two of the observed mass transport of dune sediments for ebb tides.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: POL Programmes > Other
ISSN: 0148-0227
Format Availability: Electronic, Print
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Ecology and Environment
Related URLs:
Date made live: 11 Jul 2007 14:07 +0 (UTC)

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