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ABSTRACT

The concentration and grain size of the natural and deflocculated inorganic suspended particulate matter were measured along the length of the Miramichi Estuary and interpreted with respect to flocculation and transport properties. Changes in particulate matter concentration are associated with regular changes in grain-size characteristics. In the turbidity maximum region of the estuary the suspended matter occurs mostly as large flocculated particles whereas, in the waters with lower particle concentrations, a larger proportion of the material occurs as fine material. At higher concentrations natural floc modes and inorganic grain modes vary simultaneously but at low concentrations the two modes vary inversely. This modal relationship and the variation in organic matter within the estuary is proposed to result from variation in inorganic—organic composition of flocs. Increase in settling rates due to flocculation is believed to increase the trapping effect of the estuarine circulation that produces the turbidity maximum.