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Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 94 (2011) 343-354
Contribution of hydrodynamic conditions during shallow water stages to the sediment balance on a tidal flat: Mont-Saint-Michel Bay, Normandy, France
Romain Desguée 1, N. Robin 1, L. Gluard 1, Olivier Monfort 1, E.J. Anthony 2, Franck Levoy 1

Field measurements were conducted in Mont-Saint-Michel Bay, a megatidal embayment (spring tidal range of 15 m), in order to monitor, over the course of a tidal cycle, sediment transport variability due to waves and tides on the upper part of a tidal flat characterised by shallow water depths. Sensors used to measure currents, water depth and turbidity were installed just above the bed (0.04 m). Two experiments were conducted under contrasting hydrodynamic conditions. The results highlight wave activity over the tidal flat even though observed wind waves were largely dissipated due to the very shallow water depths. Very high suspended sediment concentrations (up to 6 kg/m3) were recorded in the presence of wave activity at the beginning of the local flood, when significant sediment transport occurred, up to 7 times as much as under conditions of no wave activity. This influence may be attributed to the direct action of waves on bed sediments, to wave-induced liquefaction, and to the erosive action of waves on tidal channel banks. The sediment composition, comprising a clay fraction of 2e5%, may also enhance sediment transport by reducing critical shear stress through the sand lubrication effect. The results also show that antecedent meteorological conditions play an important role in suspended sedi- ment transport on the tidal flat. Total sediment flux directions show a net transport towards the inner part of the bay that contributes to deposition over the adjacent salt marshes, and this tendency also prevails during strong wave conditions. Such sediment transport is characterised by significant vari- ability over the course of the tidal cycle. During fair and moderate weather conditions, 83% and 71% of the total flux was observed, respectively, over only 11% and 28% of the duration of the local tidal cycle and with water depths between 0.04 and 0.3 m. These results suggest that in order to improve our under- standing of sediment budgets in this type of coastal environment, it is essential to record data just at the beginning and at the end of tidal submergence close to the bed.
1 :  Morphodynamique continentale et côtière (MCC)
CNRS : UMR6143 – INSU – Université de Caen Basse-Normandie – Université de Rouen
2 :  Centre Européen de Recherche et d'Enseignement des Géosciences de l'Environnement
Centre Européen de Recherche et d'Enseignement des Géosciences de l'Environnement
Planète et Univers/Interfaces continentales, environnement

Sciences de l'environnement/Milieux et Changements globaux
tidal flat megatidal environment sediment transport turbidity wave action shallow water France Mont-Saint-Michel Bay