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Tidal resuspension experiments were carried out on two occasions during the winter of 1988-1989 at a disposal site for hydraulically dredged sediments in northern Chesapeake Bay to determine the influence of tidal resuspension on erosion of recent deposits. The results indicate that normal tidal erosion depths were only a fraction of a millimeter per half tidal cycle and probably did not account for the majority of the apparent sediment loss. Erosion rate was found to be a linear function of the excess of estimated shear stress over a critical value, but both the constant of proportionality (M = 0.5 mg/cm2/h) and the critical shear stress (??c = 0.16 dynes/cm2 were much less than many previously reported results. The most likely explanation for these low values is that the thin layer of surface sediments involved in regular tidal resuspension had only a few hours at most to consolidate between resuspension events. Observed resuspended sediment concentrations (up to 35 mg/l above background levels) were much less than those reported for previous observations of tidal resuspension in the nearby channel, presumably due to greater stratification and lower tidal velocities at the disposal site. Salinity-induced stratification of the water column is estimated to have reduced shear stresses by up to 50% relative to the neutrally stratified case. Regular tidal resuspension of a thin layer of surface sediments is implicated as a potentially important aspect of the typical benthic environment of northern Chesapeake Bay, even if it is not the most important factor in massive sediment erosion and transport. ?? 1991.
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Tidal resuspension of sediments in northern Chesapeake Bay