Williams, Jon J., Carling, Paul A. and Bell, Paul S.
Dynamics of intertidal gravel dunes
Journal of Geophysical Research, 111 (doi:10.1029/2005JC003000).
Full text not available from this repository.
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
O(1 m), 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, tcrit, for D50 = 4 mm was approximately 1 N/m2.
However, owing to a coarse armor layer on the surface of the dune, a measured tcrit value
O(4 N/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.
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