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Coastal and shelf sediment transport : an introduction

By M.B. Collins and Peter Balson


Interest in sediment dynamics is generated by the need to understand and predict: (i) morphodynamic and morphological changes, e.g. beach erosion, shifts in navigation channels, changes associated with resource development; (ii) the fate of contaminants in estuarine, coastal and shelf environment (sediments may act as sources and sinks for toxic contaminants, depending upon the surrounding physico-chemical conditions); (iii) interactions with biota; and (iv) of particular relevance to the present Volume, interpretations of the stratigraphic record. Within this context of the latter interest, coastal and shelf sediment may be regarded as a non-renewable resource; as such, their dynamics are of extreme importance. Over the years, various approaches and techniques have been applied to the determination of sediment transport pathways and the derivation of erosion, transport, and deposition rates. Such wide-ranging approaches include the refinement and application of numerical modelling; and the development of new and more efficient field equipment, e.g. video systems (coastal/inshore) and multibeam. \ud \ud In general, sediment transport can be defined on the basis of direct observations, indirect observations and by modelling. Direct observation methods include: acoustic backscatter; optical backscatter; sediment traps; artificial tracers, for sand and pebbles; natural tracers or labelled sediments, for silts and clays; and the determination of water movements, using drifters, SPM (suspended particulate matter) and remote sensing. Indirect observational methods include: sediment characteristics, including GST A (grain size trend analysis) and mineralogy; geomorphology, including coastal landforms, estuarine volumes and asymmetric bedforms (ripples, sandwaves and sandbanks); and, finally, the internal structure of the sediment bodies \ud \u

Topics: Earth Sciences
Publisher: Geological Society of London
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1144/GSL.SP.2007.274.01.01
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