MORPHOLOGY, INTERNAL STRUCTURE, AND REVERSAL OF ASYMMETRY OF LARGE SUBTIDAL DUNES IN THE ENTRANCE TO GIRONDE ESTUARY (FRANCE)

Citation
S. Berne et al., MORPHOLOGY, INTERNAL STRUCTURE, AND REVERSAL OF ASYMMETRY OF LARGE SUBTIDAL DUNES IN THE ENTRANCE TO GIRONDE ESTUARY (FRANCE), Journal of sedimentary petrology, 63(5), 1993, pp. 780-793
Citations number
73
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Geology
Journal title
ISSN journal
0022-4472
Volume
63
Issue
5
Year of publication
1993
Pages
780 - 793
Database
ISI
SICI code
0022-4472(1993)63:5<780:MISARO>2.0.ZU;2-F
Abstract
The Gironde is a macrotidal estuary characterized by important changes in tidal-current velocity and river discharge. Two surveys were made in the lower estuary in June 1987 and October 1989 in an area with lar ge dunes. The symmetry of these dunes (1.5-6.7 m high) changes from fl ood-dominated (in upstream areas) to ebb-dominated (in downstream area s). A transition zone consists of symmetrical dunes with a very low ve rtical form index. The internal structure of the dunes, revealed by se ismic records, shows a hierarchy of bounding surfaces related to fluct uations in movement speed and asymmetry of the dunes. The lowest part of symmetrical dunes consists of ebb-oriented reflectors, while the up per part has flood-oriented reflectors. The same profile lines run in 1989 show that each large dune can be identified, despite an upstream shift of the transition zone of about 1000 m. Comparison of seismic re cords shows that some lower reflectors are preserved between the two s urveys, and that the dunes moved downstream a mean distance of 30 m. I n 1989 the internal structure of symmetrical dunes was reversed, with flood-oriented reflectors in the lower part overlain by ebb-oriented r eflectors. Both seasonal changes in river discharge and fortnightly os cillations of the tidal range control the magnitude and orientation of the net bed-load transport in the study area. Because the response ti me of the large dunes is longer than that of the superimposed small du nes, the reversal of asymmetry of the large dunes requires a long-peri od process, while fortnightly oscillation or even semi-diurnal reversa l of the tidal current (during spring tides) could cause reversal of s mall dunes.