Morphology and Sedimentation on Open-Coast Intertidal Flats of the Changjian Delta, China

Document Type


Publication Date



idal creek, storm deposit, couplets, stratigraphic preservation, mud dominated layers, sand dominated layers


On many intertidal flats, lateral aggradation and reworking by large tidal channels is the dominant sedimentary process. On the open-coast intertidal flats of the Changjiang Delta large laterally migrating tidal channels are absent. Instead, numerous shallow tidal creeks cut across the intertidal flats. On these flats, vertical rather than lateral migration dominates sedimentation.

Observations over semidiurnal tidal cycles show that both flood and ebb tides have the potential to deposit their own mud-sand copulets, but four couplets per day are rarely preserved. Reworking by tidal currents and/or weak waves results in loss of tidal couplets or amalgamation of two or more thin couplets into a single thick couplet. Measurements of preserved couplets show that they can represent a single flooding or ebbing event (half day) to a period of several neap-spring cycles. Diastems within amalgamated couplets are generally not distinguishable.

The key agent for reworking open-coast intertidal flat deposits is not tidal creek migration but seasonal storm waves. Seasonal storm deposits consist of a basal scour and sand-dominant laminae with mud pebbles, grading upward to mud-dominated layers of fair-weather deposits. Sand-dominated layers are also reworked.


Special Issue

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Coastal Research, special issue 43, p. 23-35

Was this content written or created while at USF?