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. and Breakspear, R. (2006) The morphodynamics and internal structure of intertidal fine-gravel dunes: Hills Flats, Severn Estuary, UK Sedimentary Geology, 183, (3-4), pp. 159-179. (doi:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2005.07.007).


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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 m2, sufficient to disrupt a 9 mmgravel armour layer. However, a sustained bed shear stress of 4 N m2 is required to initiate dune migration at which time the critical depth-mean velocity is 1 m s1. 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 dcapsT overlie a more stable dune dcoreT. Because ebb tides dominate, internal structures of the caps often are characterised by ebb orientated steep openwork 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: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2005.07.007
Additional Information: Estuarine gravel dunes condition sediment transport and hydraulic roughness, effecting storm-driven sea-levels. Understanding of process and stratigraphy will aid identification of hydraulics and bedforms in the geological record. This paper is one of two by the authors that presents the first systematic study of gravel bedform hydro- morphology and stratigraphy.
ISSNs: 0037-0738 (print)
Keywords: gravel dunes, intertidal zone, sedimentary process, sedimentary structures, severn estuary

ePrint ID: 37717
Date :
Date Event
4 March 2005Submitted
25 July 2006Published
Date Deposited: 25 May 2006
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 22:02
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