Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Journal of Geology
Hyperpycnal events (when suspended sediment concentrations exceed 40 g/L) occur in small‐ and medium‐sized rivers throughout the world but are particularly common in Taiwan; they are often related to landslides or debris flows initiated and transported by typhoon floods. Super‐Typhoon Herb, which swept across Taiwan on July 31–August 2, 1996, triggered floods and landslides throughout the southern part of the island. Sediment concentrations in at least seven rivers (Taan, Choshui, Pachang, Erhjen, Tsengwen, Kaoping, and Peinan) approached or exceeded 40 g/L. Calculated sediment discharged from nine rivers (these seven as well as the Wu and Houlung, neither of which apparently reached hyperpycnal concentrations) during these 3 d was 217 million tons (MT)—most of it on August 1—of which ∼80% was discharged at hyperpycnal concentrations. Presumably, most of the sediments discharged by the Peinan River (to the southeast) and the Kaoping, Erhjen, Tsengwen, and Pachang rivers (to the southwest) were transported directly to the Huatong Basin and the South China Sea (via the Penghu Canyon system), respectively. The bulk of the typhoon‐derived sediment (142 MT), however, was discharged to the northwest (primarily by the Choshui River), and its fate remains unknown. It may have ultimately reached the Penghu Canyon system and thereby the South China Sea, but more probably it was transported northward (via the Taiwan Warm Current) toward China, the East China Sea, or (perhaps) the Okinawa Trough.
erosion, basin, rates
Milliman, John D. and Kao, Shuh-Ji, Hyperpycnal Discharge of Fluvial Sediment to the Ocean: Impact of Super‐Typhoon Herb (1996) on Taiwanese Rivers (2005). Journal of Geology, 113(5), 503-516.