Suspended sediment dynamics on a seasonal scale in the Mandovi and Zuari estuaries, central west coast of India
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Suspended particulate matter (SPM) collected at regular stations from the Mandovi and Zuari estuaries indicates that the peaks of high SPM coincide with peaks of high rainfall and low salinity and also with peaks of moderate/low rainfall coupled with high salinity during the monsoon. The estuarine turbidity maximum (ETM) is a characteristic feature, it occurs in the channel accompanying spring tide during the monsoon and pre-monsoon, and shifts to the bay on neap tide during post-monsoon. ETM remains at the same position in the Mandovi River, both during the monsoon and pre-monsoon, whereas in Zuari it stretched upstream during monsoon and migrates seaward of the channel during pre-monsoon. The ETM coincides with the freshwater-seawater interface during the monsoon and is formed by the interaction between tidal currents and river flows. The ETM during pre-monsoon is associated with high salinities and is generated by tidal and wind-induced currents. The turbidity maximum on neap tide during postmonsoon may be due to the erosion and resuspension of sediments from the emergent tidal flats and transport of these turbid waters into the bay. Funneling effect of the narrowing bay in the Zuari estuary and associated physical processes effectively enhance the magnitude of the currents and transports sediments to the channel. SPM retention percentage indicates that the estuarine channel is prone to siltation.
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