Contemporary Fluvial Sediment Supply to the Wash

  1. S.-D. Nio,
  2. R. T. E. Shüttenhelm and
  3. Tj. C. E. Van Weering
  1. R. D. Wilmot and
  2. M. B. Collins

Published Online: 29 JUN 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444303759.ch7

Holocene Marine Sedimentation in the North Sea Basin

Holocene Marine Sedimentation in the North Sea Basin

How to Cite

Wilmot, R. D. and Collins, M. B. (1981) Contemporary Fluvial Sediment Supply to the Wash, 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.ch7

Author Information

  1. Department of Geology, Imperial College, London, UK

  1. Applied Mineralogy Unit, Institute of Geological Sciences, 64 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1, U.K.

  2. Department of Oceanography, University College, Swansea, Wales, U.K.

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632008582

Online ISBN: 9781444303759



  • sediment supply to the wash;
  • extrapolating and interpolating a sediment yield/catchment area relationship;
  • use of pre-existing prediction equations;
  • bed load component at outfalls;
  • wind erosion of heavily used soils


The area draining into the Wash is one of generally low relief covering an area of 12,500 km2 and includes the flat, artificially drained region of the Fenland. Attempts have been made to determine the amount of material supplied from this drainage basin to the Wash, and to compare this with the amount of suspended sediment within the Wash. Fluvial contributions have been assessed by the use of prediction equations established for similar areas, and by the use of a variety of data collected within the drainage basin. The latter includes the results of a three-year depth-integrated suspended sediment sampling programme, as well as longer-term surface bucket sampling carried out by the Anglian Water Authority and its predecessors. The surface bucket data covering the complete discharge range have been used to construct rating curves relating sediment concentration to water discharge. Such rating curves, combined with the appropriate flow duration curves, are used to calculate annual sediment yields at several sites, these being extrapolated by load/area or load/discharge relationships to non-sampled sites. These various methods give annual sediment loads ranging from 43,000 to 173,000 tonnes, but are within the same order of magnitude. These loads are several orders of magnitude lower than the amount of sediment carried in suspension over the intertidal flats of the Wash each year, confirming quantitatively the results of other studies, both in the Wash and the Wadden Sea, which have suggested that fluvial contributions are of minor importance in intertidal deposits of the Southern North Sea.