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Document Type

Book Chapter


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


S.Y. Wang, H.W. Shen, L.Z. DIng

Publication Date


Book Title

River Sedimentation - Volume III


University of Mississippi


Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on River Sedimentation


Estuaries or the U.S. Atlantic coast exhibit a range or storage efficiencies from complete storage to partial by-passing through the system. Efficiency, I.e. the ratio or sediment accumulation to river Input rate, ranges 0.7 in the Altamaha River, Ga. to 7.6 In the Choptank River, Md. Northern estuaries trap and store the bulk or their river input In addition to large amounts or sediment supplied from other sources. Southern estuaries accumulate major sediment loads in marshes and allow partial escape through channels to the sea.

The storage efficiency or difrerent estuaries is compared with respect to key factors that can be quantified and that vary within the region, It was round that storage efficiency in northern estuaries is encouraged by low flushing velocity and high volumetric capacity relative to river inflow. The long-term rise of sea level relative to the land tends to offset sediment accumulation and maintain or increase capacity. Within the range of estuaries considered, efficiency generally increases as the flow ratio decreases. This trend suggests the estuarine circulation in partially-mixed systems is important both in trapping fluvlal sediment and in transporting sediment landward from the sea.

Storage Efficiency of Estuaries

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