Gao, Shu and Collins, Michael
Net Sand Transport Direction in a Tidal Inlet, using Foraminiferal Tests as Natural Tracers
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 40, (6), . (doi:10.1006/ecss.1995.0046).
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The relationship between the flux of exotic benthic foraminiferal tests (i.e. tests which are supplied from open-sea sources alone) in a tidal inlet and that of bulk sediment was analysed, which can be expressed as two first-order linear equations. According to this relationship, in order to determine net sediment transport directions in the entrance, the test concentration in surficial sediments of the tidal basin can be compared against a ‘ critical level ’. The critical level is determined for the conditions that no net transport of bulk sediment is present within the entrance. If the observed concentration (averaged over the tidal basin) is higher than the simulated critical level, then the net sediment transport is directed to landward. This method is applied to the analysis of net sand transport at Christchurch Harbour, a tidal inlet system located in southern England. In this investigation, concentrations of exotic foraminiferal tests in the surficial sediments of the tidal basin and ebb tidal delta area were obtained from the analysis of sea-bed sediment samples. A series of probable critical levels were calculated based upon the data sets with regard to: (1) sediment discharge from the rivers; (2) magnitude of sediment discharge within the entrance during the ebb; (3) the test concentration outside the harbour; (4) the thickness of the moving layer; and (5) two parameters associated with dispersive processes. The results show that the concentration in the tidal basin sediment is higher than a number of simulated critical concentrations for representative cases. Consequently, the high level of the concentration of exotic benthic foraminiferal tests within the harbour should be explained as a result of landward net transport of sands within the entrance.
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