Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2005, Vol. 15 ›› Issue (2): 199-209.doi: 10.1360/gs050208

• Climate and Environmental Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Sedimentation rates in the Wanggang salt marshes, Jiangsu

WANG Aijun1,2, GAO Shu2, JIA Jianjun3, PAN Shaoming2   

  1. 1. Third Institute of Oceanography, SOA, Xiamen 361005, China;

    2. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Coast and Islands Development, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;

    3. Key Laboratory of Geo-Marine Sciences, Second Institute of Oceanography, SOA, Hangzhou 310012, China
  • Received:2004-11-05 Revised:2005-01-20 Online:2005-06-25 Published:2005-06-25
  • Supported by:

    The Key Project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40231010; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40476041; The Ministry of Education Ph.D. Subject Program, No.20020284007


Coastal salt-marshes represent an important coastal wetland system. The total area of coastal wetlands exceeds 5000 km2 in Jiangsu Province, China, but it is decreasing rapidly in response to the intense reclamation activities and coastal erosion along a part of the coastline. Hence, two types of plants, Spartina angelica and Spartina alterniflora, were introduced successively into the Jiangsu coastal areas, in order to protect the coastline from erosion and to increase the accumulation rate. Pb-210 and Cs-137 analyses were carried out for sediment samples from the salt-marshes of Wanggang to determine the sedimentation rate, on the basis of an evaluation of the background activity values and the factors affecting the enrichment of Pb-210. Analysis of a typical sediment column of the tidal flat shows that there is weak absorption of Pb-210 in the silt-dominated sediment. Because of the influences of factors such as storm events, bioturbation, material sources and analytical error, some abnormal data points appear in the Pb-210 record. After ignoring these data the calculated sedimentation rate was 3.3 cm yr-1 on average. Based upon analysis of the Cs-137 dating, the rate since 1963 was 3.1 cm yr-1 on average, similar to the data by Pb-210 dating and the previous studies. The dating results show that there were three stages of sedimentation, with the most rapid accretion being taking place after Spartina angelica was introduced into the area. The study also shows that at the stage of Spartina alterniflora growth, the accretion rate was higher than on the flat surface with the same elevation without the cover of this plant.

Key words: salt-marsh wetlands, sedimentation rates, Pb-210 and Cs-137 dating, Spartina angelica and Spartina alterniflora, Wanggang, Jiangsu Province