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Wave control on the rhythmic development of a wide estuary mouth sandbank: A process-based modelling study

Abstract : This study presents the numerical hindcast of the morphological changes and stratigraphy of a wide estuary mouth sandbank located along the French Atlantic coast (Marennes-Oléron Bay), and primarily investigates the respective contribution of tide and waves to its pluri-decadal evolution. Firstly, the morphodynamic hindcast appears strongly improved when tide and waves are considered in the forcing rather than only tide. Secondly, the modelling results suggest that the strong seasonal variation of the wave climate in this area explains the rhythmic lateral accretion of the bank (i.e. normal to the currents main direction) observed in seismic reflection profiles. The grain size variation in the area of sediment accretion is also characterized by a seasonal cycle. Finally, repetitive bathymetric surveys and seismic profiles revealed that the lateral accretion of the bank is associated with about one seismic reflector per year, which is in agreement with our modelling results when suggesting that these seismic reflectors are due to the seasonal variation of the grain size. These new results may be considered for the morphological evolution and the stratigraphy of other tidal sandbanks potentially affected by waves.
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Thomas Guérin, Xavier Bertin, Eric Chaumillon. Wave control on the rhythmic development of a wide estuary mouth sandbank: A process-based modelling study. Marine Geology, Elsevier, 2016, 380, pp.79 - 89. ⟨10.1016/j.margeo.2016.06.013⟩. ⟨hal-01431341⟩



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