Sorting Characteristics of Tidal Inlets

by Michael P. Walther, Coastal Technology Corp, Vero Beach, United States,
Barry D. Douglas, Coastal Technology Corp, Vero Beach, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Sediments

Abstract: An hypothesis is presented as follows: Littoral processes at a tidal inlet remove a disproportionately higher quantity of fine grain sediment than coarse grain sediment from the littoral system such that downdrift beaches become partially deprived of this fine grain sediment. This effect is shown to increase with maintenance dredging practices where coarse grain sediments are disporportionately returned to the littoral system. Existing data for Sebastian Inlet is used to test the hypothesis. Consideration of native beach sediment grain sizes, associated critical velocities, predicated longshore current distributions, and the wave climate surrounding Sebastian Inlet indicates a higher potential longshore transport capacity for fine grain sediment than coarse grain sediment. Evaluation of sediment samples from shoals surrounding Sebastian Inlet supports the hypothesis. Comparison of historical beach profiles indicates that the downdrift beach has become more steep. Sediment characteristics at Jupiter Inlet and South Lake Worth Inlet also appear to support the hypothesis. Conclusions, and the need for additional research are presented.

Subject Headings: Sediment | Littoral drift | Inlets (waterway) | Tides | Grain (material) | Littoral zones | Beaches | Velocity distribution

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