Field Settling Velocities of Estuary Muds

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To improve the ability of numerical models to predict sedimentation of harbors and channels there is a pressing need for meaningful data and equations to describe the settling of fine cohesive sediments from suspension.

As a step in this direction this paper reviews the principles involved then goes on to describe a field study carried out in the Thames Estuary using the “Owen Tube”, a settling column adapted for field use which has the advantage of not breaking up the natural floes. Over 200 field measurements were made during 3 years and the data used to investigate the effects of concentration, particle size, salinity and tidal range.

A reasonable general equation is derived from Thames data showing that concentration completely dominates the process. Finally, the Thames data are compared with data from other estuaries, obtained in the context of project studies.