Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 11, Issue 3–4, pp 147–153 | Cite as

Particle size of suspended matter in estuaries

  • D. Eisma


Suspended matter usually flocculates into fragile flocs that break up during sampling and analysis. Coulter counter and pipette size analysis are therefore an indication of floc strength. Grain-size distributions (after removal of organic matter) give an indication of the relative amount of grains transported as flocs (as opposed to being transported as single particles).In situ size distributions of suspended matter (flocs) in the Scheldt and Rhine estuaries and the Gironde, as well as results from the Zaire River estuary, indicated that salt flocculation does not appear to be of importance for the formation ofin situ flocs. Also there is no clear relation with particle concentration. In estuaries probably no equilibrium between floc size and concentration is reached because of the rapid variations in turbulence and bottom shear. In the Zaire estuary a decrease in turbulence in the surface water results in flocs of the same size as differential settling over a depth of more than 100 meters.


Flocculation Suspended Matter Settling Velocity Coulter Counter Differential Settling 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Eisma
    • 1
  1. 1.Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchTexelThe Netherlands

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