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Sediment dispersal from a typical Mediterranean flood: the Tête River, Gulf of Lions

Bourrin, François and Friend, Patrick L. and Amos, Carl L. and Manca, Eleonora and Ulses, Caroline and Palanques, Albert and Durrieu de Madron, Xavier and Thompson, Charlie E.L. (2008) Sediment dispersal from a typical Mediterranean flood: the Tête River, Gulf of Lions. Continental Shelf Research, Vol. 28 (15), p. 1895-1910. ISSN 0278-4343. Article.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.csr.2008.06.005


This paper describes an integrated study of a typical Mediterranean flood event in the Gulf of Lions. A flood with a 5-year return interval occurred in the Têt River basin and adjacent inner-shelf in the Gulf of Lions, northwest Mediterranean, during April 2004. Data were collected during this flood as part of event-response investigations of the EU-funded Eurostrataform (European Margin Strata Formation) project. Southeasterly storm winds led to a flood which directly modified the inner-shelf hydrodynamics. Sediment delivery to the coastal zone during this flood represented more than half of the mean annual discharge of the Têt River to the Gulf of Lions. This river transported a large amount of sand in suspension, representing 25% of the total suspended load, and as bedload representing 8% of the total load, during this event. Sand introduced in the nearshore was transported northwards during the peak storm and nourished a small delta. Fine sediments were separated from coarse sediments at the river mouth, and were advected southwards and seawards by the counter-clockwise general circulation. Fine-grained sediments were transported via a hypopycnal plume along the coast towards the southern tip of the Gulf of Lions and the Cap Creus canyon. The along-shore currents, which intensified from north to south of the Gulf of Lions, particularly between the Cap Creus promontory and the Cap Creus canyon, favoured the transfer of fine-grained sediments from the continental shelf of the Gulf of Lions towards the continental slope. Our results show that floods with a few-year return interval in small coastal rivers can play a significant role in the transport of sediments on microtidal continental margins and their export from the shelf through canyons.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:7146
Uncontrolled Keywords:Flash-flood, sediment transport, hypopycnal river plume, Têt River, Gulf of Lions, Northwest Mediterranean
Subjects:Area 05 - Scienze biologiche > BIO/07 Ecologia
Divisions:001 Università di Sassari > 01 Dipartimenti > Scienze botaniche, ecologiche e geologiche
Deposited On:23 Feb 2012 12:01

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