Supply and Deposition of Suspended Matter in the North Sea

  1. S.-D. Nio,
  2. R. T. E. Shüttenhelm and
  3. Tj. C. E. Van Weering
  1. D. Eisma

Published Online: 29 JUN 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444303759.ch29

Holocene Marine Sedimentation in the North Sea Basin

Holocene Marine Sedimentation in the North Sea Basin

How to Cite

Eisma, D. (1981) Supply and Deposition of Suspended Matter in the North Sea, in Holocene Marine Sedimentation in the North Sea Basin (eds S.-D. Nio, R. T. E. Shüttenhelm and Tj. C. E. Van Weering), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444303759.ch29

Author Information

  1. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel, the Netherlands

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 JUN 2009
  2. Published Print: 23 DEC 1981

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632008582

Online ISBN: 9781444303759



  • distribution of suspended matter;
  • supply and deposition of suspended matter;
  • particle-size distributions;
  • muddy admixtures;
  • Estuaries and Wadden


Suspended matter in the North Sea is supplied from the northern Atlantic Ocean, the Channel, the Baltic, rivers, coastal erosion, seafloor erosion, primary production and the atmosphere. It is moved through the North Sea with a general anti clockwise circulation, is concentrated near the coasts of the southern North Sea and is deposited in a number of small areas: river estuaries, tidal flats, small areas south-east of Helgoland and south-west of Dogger Bank and in the Skagerrak–Kattegat and possibly also in the Elbe Rinne. The total amount of suspended matter yearly supplied to the North Sea is estimated to be at least approximately 34 × 106 ton yr−1, to which an unknown amount should be added supplied by seafloor erosion and from the Channel through the coastal waters of the Dover–Calais Straits. Approximately 11·4 × 106 ton yr−1 is supplied from the Atlantic Ocean and more than 22·5 × 106 ton yr−1 from sources in the Channel and the North Sea. Outflow into the Northern Atlantic is less than 14·4 × 106 ton yr−1. From the deposition rate in the areas of sedimentation it is estimated that 21–31·5 × 106 ton yr−1 is being deposited, whereas c. 2 × 106 ton is yearly dumped on land. The total of estimated outflow, deposition and dumping is 37·5–48 × 106 ton yr−1. Although the total estimated supply comes within the range of estimated outflow + deposition, the figures that have been used can only be regarded as broad estimates. Uncertainties chiefly concern the amount of seafloor erosion, the sedimentation rates in the areas of deposition and the transport of fine-grained material in suspension near the bottom.