FIELD INVESTIGATIONS OF SUSPENDED SEDIMENT TRANSPORT IN THE NEARSHORE ZONE

R.W. Sternberg, N.C. Shi, John P. Downing

Abstract


The suspended sediment distribution and longshore sediment transport characteristics at Leadbetter Beach, Santa Barbara, California were investigated using a series of miniature optical backseatter sensors which can measure particle concentrations as high as 180 gm/£ and have 10 Hz frequency response. Vertical arrays of sensors were maintained at up to four positions across the surf zone during 7-25 February 1980 and were operated concurrently with pressure sensors and current meters. Data were collected on a daily basis over 2-4 hour periods. The data were analyzed to reveal concentration profiles of suspended sediment, the average suspended sediment loads, and the longshore particle flux in relation to varying wave conditions. Results show that sediment transport occurs as individual suspension events related to incident wave motions and infragravity motion oscillations within the surf zone; suspended sediment concentration decreases approximately logarithimically away from the seabed; the maximum values of longshore transport rates occur in the mid-surf zone; and the measured suspended sediment longshore transport rate is equal to the total longshore transport rate as predicted by existing transport equations.

Keywords


nearshore zone; sediment transport; suspended sediment; field investigations

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