Sedimentary processes in the Dwyryd Estuary
This study aims to describe and quantify the important sedimentary processes which control the dispersal and accumulation of sediment in the Dwyryd Estuary, adjacent to Tremadog Bay in West Wales. It is shown that sedimentation in the estuary is dominantly control by fast tidal currents, and in the bay by weak tidal currents. Landward transport of coastal sediments by tidal currents is the residual sediment transport path. The spatial distribution of textural parameters of the estuarine sediments is related to the strength of tidal currents as well as the morphology and bathymetry of the study area. The estuarine sediments, predominantly sand, are very similar in texture and mineralogy to the adjacent beach sediments but markedly different to the river sediments. However, the beach sediments are slightly coarser and more poorly sorted than the estuarine sediments. In contrast, sediment in the deeper parts of Tremadog Bay are finer than both the estuarine and beach sediments due to the presence of substantial admixture of mud. The grain size distributions of most of the sediments are neither lognormal nor log-hyperbolic reflecting the great variability of hydrodynamic conditions in the study area. Using previously published flume data, a new sediment transport rate formula in the form of a power law has been developed for computation of total sediment load from the bed mean grain size and flow parameters: Uc The exponent n varies from 2.7 (for 0.93 mm sand) to 4.18 (for 0.19 mm sand). This is in contrast to the Bagnold (1966) formula which regards the exponent value (equal to 3) as constant for all grain sizes. Sediment transport patterns depend on the asymmetry between flood and ebb tidal currents due to distortion of the tidal wave on entering the estuary. Estimates of sediment budgets from surveyed profiles suggest that large amounts of sand have been transported from coastal areas into the estuary, supporting the mineralogical evidence. The estimates are of the same order of magnitude as estimates using flow velocity data and the above sediment transport formula.