CHARACTER AND STABILITY OF A NATURAL TIDAL INLET

Curtis Mason, Robert M. Sorenson

Abstract


An environmental study was conducted at Brown Cedar Cut, a natural unstable barrier beach inlet connecting East Matagorda Bay, Texas, with the Gulf of Mexico. The objectives of this study were to determine the physical and hydraulic properties of the Inlet, and to investigate the inlet's historical stability, as well as its short-term response to a number of physical processes. Results of the study indicate that hurricanes and continuing erosion of adjacent beaches enhance the long-term stability of the inlet. During winter months, the rapid passage of strong frontal systems and associated winds, as well as substantial amounts of rainfall, are primarily responsible for the day-to-day viability of the channel boundaries. In the absence of such forces, the predominance of littoral drift over the limited flushing ability of astronomical tidal currents leads to degradation of the inlet channel and westward migration of the entire inlet system.

Keywords


natural inlet; tidal inlet; inlet stability

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