A conceptual model of fine sediment transport between a river and a bay is proposed, based on observations at two rivers feeding the same bay. The conceptual model consists of river, transitional, and bay regimes. Within the transitional regime, resuspension, advection, and deposition create a mass of sediment that oscillates landward and seaward. While suspended, this sediment mass forms an estuarine turbidity maximum. At slack tides this sediment mass temporarily deposits on the bed, creating landward and seaward deposits. Tidal excursion and slack tide deposition limit the range of the sediment mass. To verify this conceptual model, data from two small tributary rivers of San Pablo Bay are presented. Tidal variability of suspended-sediment concentration markedly differs between the landward and seaward deposits, allowing interpretation of the intratidal movement of the oscillating sediment mass. Application of this model in suitable estuaries will assist in numerical model calibration as well as in data interpretation. A similar model has been applied to some larger-scale European estuaries, which bear a geometric resemblance to the systems analyzed in this study. ?? 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Tidal oscillation of sediment between a river and a bay: A conceptual model