Earth Surface Process

Distributions of sediments of the tidal flats in response to dynamic actions, Yangtze (Changjiang) Estuary

  • 1. State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062,China;
    2. Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft Technical University, Delft 2600, the Netherlands

Received date: 2010-04-19

  Revised date: 2010-06-30

  Online published: 2011-08-05

Supported by

Key Project for the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.50939003; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40976055; No.41076050


Sediment samples with high spatial resolution (432 samples in total) and flow data were collected on the tidal flats in the mouth-bar region of the Yangtze Estuary. The data was collected in July 2005, July 2006 and May 2007. The samples were analyzed with a particle sizer, resulting in the sediment distribution. The grain sizes and related parameters were analyzed. The results were presented in a ternary diagram. The sediment mainly consisted of sand, silty sand, sandy silt, sand-silt-clay, silt and clayey silt. And sand skeletons and clay matrices were found. At Nanhui Shoal, silt skeletons could be identified as well. Furthermore, the results were discussed per shoal. Although some depth dependencies were found per shoal, no general relation was found. The results are as follows: sediment located at these tidal flats of the Yangtze Estuary was mainly composed of sand, silty sand and silt. The median grain size in sediment was relatively complex with a range from 2.5 φ to 8 φ. The distributions of sorting coefficients ranging from 1 to 2 were in agreement with median sizes. It was suggested that sediment of the tidal flats was coarser and better sorted or finer and worse sorted. The skewness in sediment distribution varied from 0.1 to 0.8. In addition, the distributions of sorting coefficient and skewness in sediment at Chongming Eastern Shoal, Hengsha Eastern Shoal and Jiuduan Shoal were of similar characteristics because there were closely positive correlated relationships among these parameters. However, due to the location difference between Nanhui Southern Shoal and Eastern Shoal, the values of sorting coefficient and skewness had relatively large distinctions. The tracks of sediment transport could be described based on the distributions of sediment, which might reveal sediment transport controlled by two dominant hydrodynamic factors of current and wave. It was appreciable that coarser sediment with lower sorted coefficient was affected by dominant ebb current action and intense wave action resulted from rapidly dissipated wave energy. Moreover, due to the effects of obstructed branches, guided current and broken wave actions of the Deep Water Channel Project, grain-size in sediment located at two sides of the groyne was of uneven distribution characteristics.

Cite this article

YAN Hong, DAI Zhijun, LI Jiufa, ZHAO Jianchun, ZHANG Xiaoling, ZHAO Junkai . Distributions of sediments of the tidal flats in response to dynamic actions, Yangtze (Changjiang) Estuary[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2011 , 21(4) : 719 -732 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0875-0