SEDIMENTATION PATTERNS IN A TIDAL INLET SYSTEM MORICHES INLET, NEW YORK

Michael J. Vogel, Timothy W. Kana

Abstract


A detailed study of the historical development of Moriches Inlet, Long Island (New York), was completed to determine the morphodynamic interaction of tidally influenced processes and the effects of man-made alterations on the inlet channel and affiliated flood and ebbtidal deltas. The south shore of Long Island in the vicinity of Moriches Inlet is a microtidal, wave-dominated (mixed-energy) environment. Characteristic of this setting, the inlet bisects a low-lying barrier island backed by an open bay and has a prominent flood-tidal delta. In this study, bathymetric charts of the inlet, bay, and barrier nearshore zones were contoured for analysis. Using a polar planimeter, the areas between isobaths from mean high water to the bottom surface were measured. This information was used to determine the volumetric distribution of sediment and water in the system. In addition, harmonic analysis was applied on digitized bay-tide records to ascertain the relationships of the semidiurnal overtide constituents. From the results, mean rise/fall duration differences, related to the conservation of mass, were calculated. The results of the quantitative spatial analysis indicate that Moriches Inlet was flood-dominant from breach in 1931 until closure in 1951. After reopening in 1953, the inlet became ebb-dominant as a result of inlet stabilization and extensive dredge-and-spoil operations in the inlet and bay. Good correlations exist between net sedimentation in the inlet with (1) bay-surface area change, (2) water storage capabilities of the flood-tidal delta, and (3) the cross-sectional area of the inlet. The relationship among these variables suggests that there is a system-wide response to the change in the hydrodynamics caused by man-made alterations, resulting in ebb dominance.

Keywords


sedimentation patterns; tidal inlet; Moriches Inlet, New York

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