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Sediment transport on a high-energy ebb-tidal delta

July 1, 2001

Six tripods were deployed at shallow (~14-m) and deep (~24-m) sites on the northern, middle, and southern flanks of the Grays Harbor, Washington, U.S.A. ebb-tidal delta from early October through December, 1999 to measure waves, currents, temperature, and suspended-sediment concentrations as part of a wave-refraction and sediment-transport experiment. Directional wave spectra show that the general direction of wave approach shifted from WNW to WSW as the North Pacific weather pattern shifted from summer to winter, and we were fortunate enough to capture a large storm (offshore significant wave heights of ~8 m) in late October and a sequence of about 8 smaller events with ~4 to 6-m waves in November and December. As expected, wave directions indicated refraction around the ebb-tidal delta, and varied with incident wave period and direction. Direct estimates of sediment flux about 0.4–0.6 m above the bottom, and modeled estimates of depth-integrated suspended sediment flux indicate net offshore and northward transport. By comparison, estimated net bedload flux was onshore, but at much lower rates. These results indicate that sand on the ebb-tidal delta can be mobilized frequently under winter conditions, and can bypass the inlet at depths of at least 24 m. The data also suggest that significant offshore transport occurs at these depths and that offshore suspended-sediment transport during winter is so great that it might not be balanced by onshore bedload transport.

Publication Year 2001
Title Sediment transport on a high-energy ebb-tidal delta
DOI 10.1061/40566(260)48
Authors Christopher R. Sherwood, Guy Gelfenbaum, Peter A. Howd, Margaret L. Palmsten
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70243317
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center; Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center