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Eel River margin source-to-sink sediment budgets: revisited

May 1, 2014

The Eel River coastal margin has been used as a representative source-to-sink sediment dispersal system owing to its steep, high-sediment yield river and the formation of sedimentary strata on its continental shelf. One finding of previous studies is that the adjacent continental shelf retains only ~25% of the Eel River fine-grained sediment (less than 63 μm) discharged over time scales of both individual floods and the 20th century, thus suggesting that the Eel shelf trapping-efficiency is uniquely lower than other similar systems. Here I provide data and analyses showing that sediment discharge relationships in the Eel River have varied strongly with time and include substantial decreases in suspended-sediment concentrations during the latter 20th century. Including these trends in margin-wide sediment budgets, I show that previous Eel River sediment discharge rates were overestimated by a factor of two. Thus, revised sediment budgets shown here reveal that the Eel shelf retained ~50% of the discharged river fine-grained suspended sediment during intensively sampled events of 1995–97 and over the 20th century. In light of this, hypotheses about high rates of sediment export away from the primary shelf depocenter should be reevaluated.

Publication Year 2014
Title Eel River margin source-to-sink sediment budgets: revisited
DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2014.03.008
Authors Jonathan A. Warrick
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Geology
Index ID 70141793
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center