Sediment texture, distribution and transport on the Ayeyarwady continental shelf, Andaman Sea
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The Ayeyarwady continental shelf is a complex sedimentary system characterized by large sediment influx (N360 million ton/yr), a wide shelf (N170 km), a strong tidal regime (7 m maximum tidal range), and incised by the Martaban Canyon. Grain size distribution on the Ayeyarwady shelf reveals three distinct areas in terms of sediment texture (i) a near-shore mud belt in the Gulf of Martaban and adjacent inner shelf (ii) outer shelf relict sands and (iii) mixed sediments with varying proportions of relict sand and modern mud in the Martaban Canyon. The bulk of the terrigenous sediment discharged by the Ayeyarwady River is displaced eastwards by a combination of tidal currents and clockwise flowing SW monsoon current and deposited in the Gulf of Martaban resulting in shoaling of its water depths. Part of the sediment discharge reaches the deep Andaman Sea via the Martaban Canyon and the rest is transported westward into the Bay of Bengal by the counter-clockwise flowing NE monsoon currents.
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