Recent Advances in Understanding Continental Shelf Sediment Transport

  1. Michael Z. Li2,
  2. Christopher R. Sherwood3 and
  3. Philip R. Hill4
  1. L.D. Wright

Published Online: 3 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118311172.ch8

Sediments, Morphology and Sedimentary Processes on Continental Shelves: Advances in Technologies, Research, and Applications

Sediments, Morphology and Sedimentary Processes on Continental Shelves: Advances in Technologies, Research, and Applications

How to Cite

Wright, L.D. (2012) Recent Advances in Understanding Continental Shelf Sediment Transport, in Sediments, Morphology and Sedimentary Processes on Continental Shelves: Advances in Technologies, Research, and Applications (eds M. Z. Li, C. R. Sherwood and P. R. Hill), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, West Sussex, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118311172.ch8

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic), Natural Resources Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y 4A2 Canada

  2. 3

    U. S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole, MA 02543-1598 USA

  3. 4

    Natural Resources Canada, Sidney, BC, Canada V8L 4B2

Author Information

  1. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, VA, 23062, USA

  1. Present address: 223 Cove Rd. Inglis, FL 34449, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 26 JAN 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444350821

Online ISBN: 9781118311172

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Keywords:

  • bed stress;
  • hyperpycnal flows;
  • sediment flux;
  • currents;
  • waves;
  • suspension

Summary

New advances in near-bed measurement technologies, combined with large-scale multi-institution research programs have yielded significant advances in understanding the processes that govern the suspension, transport and deposition of mud and sand on continental shelves. Advances have been made in five general, but overlapping areas: (1) bottom boundary layer hydrodynamics; (2) sediment suspension and vertical flux; (3) along-shelf flux; (4) flow-driven across-shelf flux; and (5) gravity-driven across-shelf flux and deposition. Bottom boundary layer dynamics and sediment suspension are tightly coupled, particularly during storms and over mud beds. Along-shelf sediment fluxes are reasonably well modeled in terms of interacting wind-driven flows, coastal plumes and wave agitation. Buoyant river plumes, trapped inshore of fronts, are important modes of along shelf dispersal of river-supplied mud. Recent field observations from river-nourished and sandy shelf environments show that gravity-driven transport within negatively buoyant hyperpycnal layers is an important mode of sediment transport across continental shelves.