Hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics of The Wash embayment, eastern England

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ABSTRACT

Water and sediment movement in The Wash embayment has been determined from an extensive set of data, consisting of tidal current readings and suspended sediment concentration measurements. Instantaneous and residual currents in the embayment show a distinct lateral inhomogeneity, whereas vertically the water column is almost homogenous. The central deep water area (30–40 m) of the embayment is dominated by a residual landward water movement, whilst on the margins, the residual movement is seaward. Sediment is supplied predominantly in suspension from the north, through the northern extremity of Boston Deep. Suspended sediment pathways are coincident with the spring tide water movements and the subtidal channels act as the main conduits. Approximately 6·8 × 106 tonnes yr−1 of suspended sediments are supplied to the embayment from offshore areas. Bedload sediment supply is of lesser importance, ∼ 1·4 × 104 tonnes yr−1. Whereas suspended sediment movement appears to be the dominant mode of transport throughout the embayment, bedload transport is important in reforming the sea bed into a variety of bedforms which are particularly well developed on the margins of channels and shoals.

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