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Sediment transport on the Palos Verdes shelf over seasonal to decadal time scales

January 1, 2002

We combine direct observations, longer-term wave data, and model calculations to characterize resuspension and transport of fine-grained, effluent-affected sediment on the Palos Verdes shelf. Near-bed waves, currents, and suspended sediment concentrations were monitored during the winter of 1992-93 with a bottom tripod and current-meter mooring at a 63-m-deep site. Wave conditions that winter were moderate (??? 2 year recurrence interval), and mean current was alongshelf to the northwest; currents were not significantly correlated with wave conditions. Seven wave events during the winter (December-March) produced near-bed wave orbital velocities at the study site in excess of 14 cm s-1, the observed threshold for significant resuspension. Three of these events occurred during the bottom tripod deployment and are characterized by the highest persistent suspended sediment concentrations in the tripod record. Suspended sediment flux was alongshelf to the northwest for 5 of the 6 wave events for which current data were available; one event occurred during low southeast currents. Measured suspended sediment concentration and grain size generally agree with values that were calculated using a shelf sediment transport model with no adjustment of parameters from values determined for two muddy sites on the northern California shelf. We extend our seasonal observations to a period of almost 2 decades by applying the observed thresholds for wave-driven resuspension to near-bed wave conditions calculated from NDBC Buoy 46025 surface wave data. An average of 10 resuspension events per year, with an average duration of 1.6 days, were identified at a water depth of 60 m; the number of events dropped to 3 per year at 90 m, beyond the shelf break. For the majority of these events, calculated net suspended sediment flux is toward the northwest (alongshelf) at an average rate of 140 kg m-1 h-1; about a third of the events have net southeastward flux at an average rate of 30 kg m-1 h-1. The calculated thickness of the resuspended surface layer of the bed was less than 1 cm for all events at 60 m. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Year 2002
Title Sediment transport on the Palos Verdes shelf over seasonal to decadal time scales
DOI 10.1016/S0278-4343(01)00116-9
Authors P.L. Wiberg, D.E. Drake, C. K. Harris, M. Noble
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Continental Shelf Research
Index ID 70024556
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse