Duncan M. FitzGerald, Dag Nummedal, Timothy W. Kana


A sand circulation pattern has been determined for Price Inlet, South Carolina, using wave refraction diagrams, littoral process measurements, bedform orientations and inlet hydraulic data. The dominant process acting on the ebb-tidal delta is wave swash which impedes the ebb-tidal currents and augments the flood-tidal currents. This produces a net landward transport of sand on the ebb-tidal delta as evidenced by the landward migrating swash bars. Bedform orientations and velocity measurements taken on the swash bars also support this conclusion. Countering the general landward transport direction is the ebb dominance of the main channel. This dominance can be explained by higher inlet efficiency at low water than at high water. Consequently, bay tide phase lag is larger at high than at low water resulting in a longer flood duration. This causes higher mean ebb-tidal currents and a consequent larger potential net ebb transport of sand. This inlet characteristic explains why little sand is transported inside the inlet, why the throat remains scoured and why sand entering the main channel is carried seaward.


sand circulation; Price Inlet; South Carolina

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