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Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 287–305 | Cite as

Large-scale bedforms induced by supercritical flows and wave–wave interference in the intertidal zone (Cap Ferret, France)

  • Romain VaucherEmail author
  • Bernard Pittet
  • Thomas Humbert
  • Serge Ferry
Original
  • 483 Downloads

Abstract

The Cap Ferret sand spit is situated along the wave-dominated, tidally modulated Atlantic coast of western France, characterized by a semidiurnal macrotidal range. It displays peculiar dome-like bedforms that can be observed at low tide across the intertidal zone. These bedforms exhibit a wavelength of ca. 1.2 m and an elevation of ca. 30 cm. They occur only when the incident wave heights reach 1.5–2 m. The internal stratifications are characterized by swaley-like, sub-planar, oblique-tangential, oblique-tabular, as well as hummocky-like stratifications. The tabular and tangential stratifications comprise prograding oblique sets (defined as foresets and backsets) that almost always show variations in their steepness. Downcutting into the bottomsets of the oblique-tangential stratifications is common. The sets of laminae observed in the bedforms share common characteristics with those formed by supercritical flows in flume experiments of earlier studies. These peculiar bedforms are observed at the surf–swash transition zone where the backwash flow reaches supercritical conditions. This type of flow can explain their internal architecture but not their general dome-like (three-dimensional) morphology. Wave–wave interference induced by the geomorphology (i.e. tidal channel) of the coastal environment is proposed as explanation for the localized formation of such bedforms. This study highlights that the combination of supercritical flows occurring in the surf–swash transition zone and wave–wave interferences can generate dome-like bedforms in intertidal zones.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. We are thankful to Arnoud Slootman for his constructive remarks that helped us to improve the quality of the manuscript. The authors appreciate the editorial comments of Monique T. Delafontaine and Burg W. Flemming.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest with third parties.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Univ. Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, ENS de Lyon, CNRS, UMR 5276 LGL-TPEVilleurbanneFrance
  2. 2.CICTERRA CONICET, Universidad Nacional de CórdobaCórdobaArgentina
  3. 3.Laboratoire d’Acoustique de l’Université du Maine, UMR6613 CNRS/Univ. du MaineLe Mans Cedex 9France

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