Skip to main content

Modern sediments and sediment accumulation rates on the narrow shelf off central Vietnam, South China Sea

Abstract

The narrow shelf along the coast of central Vietnam is seasonally supplied by large amounts of sediment from the adjacent mountainous hinterland following monsoonal precipitation. This study examines the fate of these sediments, and their accumulation rates along two transects across the shelf, based on analyses of radionuclides (210Pb, 137Cs), sediment texture and structure, as well as carbonate content. The inner shelf is covered by sands, and probably serves as bypass zone for fine sediments transported offshore. Sediment characteristics suggest that the transport to the mid and outer shelf is related to flood events. Averaged over the last century, the 210Pb-based mud mass accumulation rates on the mid and outer shelf vary between 0.25 g cm −2 and 0.56 g cm −2 year −1 (corresponding to linear sediment accumulation rates of 0.20–0.47 cm year −1). Along with high excess 210Pb inventories, these high accumulation rates suggest a significant sediment depocentre on the mid shelf. The 210Pb-derived sediment accumulation rates were found to be several times higher than 14C-derived rates previously reported for the Holocene, at the same location on the outer shelf. This is probably due to the incompleteness of the Holocene record, and an overestimation of the modern rate. Another explanation would be increased erosion within the rivers’ drainage basins, due to 20th century deforestation. This hypothesis is supported by the difference between recent (less sand, more lithic grains in the sand fraction) and older sediments. In terms of modern sedimentation processes and rates, the central Vietnam shelf, although being a part of a narrow passive continental margin, is similar to active flood-dominated continental margins.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. An NT, Son VD, Thu PM, Huan NH, Ittekkot V (2000) Tracing sediment transport and bed regime in Nha Trang Bay. Collection Mar Res Works 10:63–69

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bentley SJ, Nittrouer CA (2003) Emplacement, modification, and preservation of event strata on a flood-dominated continental shelf: Eel shelf, Northern California. Cont Shelf Res 23:1465–1493

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Benninger LK, Aller RC, Cochran JK, Turekian KK (1979) Effects of biological mixing on the 210Pb chronology and trace metal distribution in a Long Island Sound sediment core. Earth Planet Sci Lett 43:241–259

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Boer W, van den Bergh GD, de Haas H, de Stigter HC, Gieles R, van Weering TCE (2006) Validation of accumulation rates in Teluk Banten (Indonesia) from commonly applied 210Pb models, using the 1883 Krakatau tephra as time marker. Mar Geol 227:263–277

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. DeMaster DJ, McKee BA, Nittrouer CA, Jiangchu Q, Guodong C (1985) Rates of sediment accumulation and particle reworking based on radiochemical measurements from continental shelf deposits in the East China Sea. Cont Shelf Res 4:143–158

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Dippner JW, Nguyen KV, Hein H, Ohde T, Loick N (2007) Monsoon-induced upwelling off the Vietnamese coast. Ocean Dyn 57:46–62

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Douglas I (1996) The impact of land-use changes, especially logging, shifting cultivation, mining and urbanization on sediment yields in humid tropical Southeast Asia: a review with special reference to Borneo. In: Walling DE, Wwebb BW (eds) Erosion and sediment yield: global and regional perspectives. IAHS Publ 236:463–471

  8. Flynn WW (1968) The determination of low levels of polonium-210 in environmental materials. Anal Chim Acta 43:221–227

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Hanebuth TJJ, Stattegger K (2003) The stratigraphic evolution of the Sunda shelf during the past fifty thousand years. In: Posamentier HW, Sidi FH, Darman H, Nummedal D, Imbert P (eds) Tropical deltas of Southeast Asia—sedimentology, stratigraphy, and petroleum geology. SEPM Spec Publ 76:189–200

  10. Hanebuth TJJ, Stattegger K, Saito Y (2002) The stratigraphic architecture of the central Sunda Shelf (SE Asia) recorded by shallow-seismic surveying. Geo Mar Lett 22:86–94 doi:10.1007/s00367-002-0102-1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Henderson GM, Maier-Reimer E (2002) Advection and removal of 210Pb and stable Pb isotopes in the oceans: a general circulation model study. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 66:257–272

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Hien PD, Hiep HT, Quang NH, Huy NQ, Binh NT, Hai PS, Long NQ, Bac VT (2002) Derivation of 137Cs deposition density from measurements of 137Cs inventories in undisturbed soils. J Environ Radioactivity 62:295–303

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Hu J, Kawamura H, Hong H, Qi YO (2000) A review on the currents in the South China Sea: seasonal circulation, South China Sea Warm Current and Kuroshio Intrusion. J Oceanogr 56:607–624

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Huang QZ, Wang WZ, Li YS, Li CW (1994a) Current characteristic of the South China Sea. In: Oceanology of China Seas, vol 1. Kluwer, Amsterdam, pp 39–47

    Google Scholar 

  15. Huang QZ, Wang WZ, Chen JC (1994b) Tides, tidal currents and storm surge set-up of south China Sea. In: Oceanology of China Seas, vol 1. Kluwer, Amsterdam, pp 113–122

    Google Scholar 

  16. Jaeger JM, Nittrouer CA, Scott ND, Milliman JD (1998) Sediment accumulation along a glacially impacted mountainous coastline: north-east Gulf of Alaska. Basin Res 10:155–173

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Jagodziński R (2005) Petrography and geochemistry of surface sediments from Sunda and Vietnamese shelves (South China Sea). Adam Mickiewicz University Press, Poznań

    Google Scholar 

  18. Kubicki A (2008) Large and very large subaqueous dunes on the continental shelf off southern Vietnam, South China Sea. Geo Mar Lett 28:229–238 doi:10.1007/s00367-008-0103-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Kuehl SA, Brunskill GJ, Burns K, Fugate D, Kniskern T, Meneghini L (2004) Nature of sediment dispersal off the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea: preliminary sediment budget and implications for margin processes. Cont Shelf Res 24:2417–2429

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Lahajnar N, Wiesner MG, Gaye B (2007) Fuxes of amino acids and hexosamines to the deep South China Sea. Deep Sea Res I 54:2120-2144

    Google Scholar 

  21. McKee BA, Nittrouer CA, DeMaster DJ (1983) Concepts of sediment deposition and accumulation applied to the continental shelf near the mouth of the Yangtze River. Geology 11:631–633

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Milliman JD, Meade RH (1983) World-wide delivery of river sediment to the oceans. J Geol 91:1–21

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Milliman JD, Syvitski JPM (1992) Geomorphic/tectonic control of sediment discharge to the ocean: the importance of small mountainous rivers. J Geol 100:525–544

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Milliman JD, Farnsworth KL, Albertin CS (1999) Flux and fate of fluvial sediments leaving large islands in the East Indies. J Sea Res 41:97–107

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. M üller G, Gastner M (1971) The carbonate bomb, a simple device for the determination of carbonate content in the sediments, soils and other materials. N Jahrb Mineral 10:466–469

    Google Scholar 

  26. Nguyen BX, Tong PHS (2000) The characteristics of distribution and change of seawater temperature and salinity of Cai river estuary and northern part of Nha Trang Bay in the dry and rainy seasons. Collection Mar Res Works 10:14–20

    Google Scholar 

  27. Nino H, Emery KO (1961) Sediments of shallow portions of East China Sea and South China Sea. Geol Soc Am Bull 72:731–762

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Nittrouer CA, Sternberg RW, Carpenter R, Bennett JT (1979) The use of Pb-210 geochronology as a sedimentological tool: application to the Washington continental shelf. Mar Geol 31:297–316

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Nittrouer CA, DeMaster DJ, McKee BA, Cutshall NH, Larson IL (1984) The effect of sediment mixing on 210Pb accumulation rates for the Washington continental shelf. Mar Geol 54:201–221

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Nittrouer CA, Austin JA, Field ME, Kravitz JH, Syvitski JPM, Wiberg P (eds) (2007) Continental margin sedimentation. International Association of Sedimentologists, Spec Publ 37

  31. Phung T, Thom PV, Son NT, Hieu TT, Hung T, Tin TD, Suu NH (1979) Geomorphological and sedimentological characteristic of Binhcang-Nha Trang Bay. Collection Mar Res Works 1:77–92

    Google Scholar 

  32. Phung T, Hieu TT, Tac NV (1995) Geology of Vietnam continental shelf and adjacent regions. Collection Mar Res Works 6:57–73

    Google Scholar 

  33. Reineck HE (1960) Über Zeitl ücken in rezenten Flachsee-Sedimenten. Geol Rundsch 49:149–161

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Robbins JA, Edgington DN (1975) Determination of recent sedimentation rates in lake Michigan using Pb-210 and Cs-137. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 39:285–304

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Sadler PM (1981) Sediment accumulation rates and the completeness of the stratigraphical record. J Geol 89:569–584

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Schimanski A, Stattegger K (2005a) Deglacial and Holocene evolution of the Vietnam Shelf: stratigraphy, sediments and sea-level change. Mar Geol 214:365–387

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Schimanski A, Stattegger K (2005b) A conceptual sediment budget for the Vietnam Shelf. Meyniana 57:101–115

    Google Scholar 

  38. Sommerfield CK, Nittrouer CA (1999) Modern accumulation rates and sediment budget for the Eel shelf: a flood-dominated depositional environment. Mar Geol 154:227–241

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Sommerfield CK, Ogston AS, Mullenbach BL, Drake DE, Alexander CR, Nittrouer CA, Borgeld JC, Wheatcroft RA, Leithold EL (2007) Oceanic dispersal and accumulation of river sediment. In: Nittrouer CA, Austin JA, Field ME et al. (eds) Continental margin sedimentation. International Association of Sedimentologists, Spec Publ 37:157–212

  40. Srisuksawad K, Porntepkasemsan B, Nouchpramool S, Yamkate P, Carpenter R, Peterson ML, Hamilton T (1997) Radionuclide activities, geochemistry, and accumulation rates of sediments in the Gulf of Thailand. Cont Shelf Res 17:925–965

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Syvitski JPM, V ör ösmarty CJ, Kettner AJ, Green P (2005) Impact of humans on the flux of terrestrial sediment to the global coastal ocean. Science 308:376–380

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Szczuciński W, Stattegger K (2001) Style and rate of shelf sedimentation offshore Nha Trang, Vietnam, South China Sea. Meyniana 53:143–162

    Google Scholar 

  43. Szczuciński W, Jagodziński R, Nguyen TT, Kubicki A, Stattegger K (2005) Sediment dynamics and hydrodynamics during a low river discharge conditions in Nha Trang Bay, Vietnam. Meyniana 57:117–132

    Google Scholar 

  44. Thanh TD, Saito Y, Huy DV, Nguyen VL, Ta TKO, Tateishi M (2004) Regimes of human and climate impacts on coastal changes in Vietnam. Reg Environ Change 4:49–62

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Van den Bergh GD, Boer W, Schaapveld MAS, Duc DM, van Weering TCE (2007) Recent sedimentation and sediment accumulation rates of the Ba Lat prodelta (Red River, Vietnam). J Asian Earth Sci 29:545–557

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Van Maren DS, Hoekstra P (2004) Seasonal variation of hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics in a shallow subtropical estuary: the Ba Lat River, Vietnam. Estuarine Coastal Shelf Sci 60:529–540

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Walsh JP, Nittrouer CA (2003) Contrasting styles of off-shelf sediment accumulation in New Guinea. Mar Geol 196:105–125

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Wheatcroft RA, Drake DE (2003) Post-depositional alteration and preservation of sedimentary event layers on continental margins, I. The role of episodic sedimentation. Mar Geol 199:123–137

    Google Scholar 

  49. Wheatcroft RA, Sommerfield CK, Drake DE, Borgeld JC, Nittrouer CA (1997) Rapid and widespread dispersal of flood sediment on the northern California margin. Geology 25:163–166

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Wheatcroft RA, Stevens AW, Hunt LM, Milligan TG (2006) The large-scale distribution and internal geometry of the fall 2000 Po River flood deposit: evidence from digital X-radiography. Cont Shelf Res 26:499–516

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Wiberg PL, Drake DE, Harris CK, Noble M (2002) Sediment transport on the Palos Verdes shelf over seasonal to decadal time scales. Cont Shelf Res 22:987–1004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Wiesner MG, Stattegger K, Kuhnt W, Arpa C, Bracker E, Catane S, Leon M de, Duyanen J, Faber U, Gerbich C, Hess S, Holbourn A, Jagodzinski R, Kaminski M, Kawamura H, Kr üger O, Lorenc S, Nguyen HS, Nguyen HP, Nguyen VB, Paulsen H, Peleo-Alampay A, Richter A, Rimek R, Schimanski A, Seeman B, Sharma C, Siringan F, Steen E, Steinke S, Szarek R, Szczucinski W, Vo Duy Son, Wersch V von, Wetzel A, Witzki D (1999) Late Pleistocene–Holocene sea level fluctuations and high-resolution stratigraphy of the post-Pleistocene Transgression of the Vietnam Shelf. Particle fluxes and recolonisation of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo tephra layer in the South China Sea. Cruise Report SONNE 140. S üdmeer III. Berichte-Reports, Institut f ür Geowissenschaften Universit ät Kiel, 7

  53. Wright LD, Friedrichs CT (2006) Gravity-driven sediment transport on continental shelves: a status report. Cont Shelf Res 26:2092–2107

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Witold Szczuciński.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Szczuciński, W., Stattegger, K. & Scholten, J. Modern sediments and sediment accumulation rates on the narrow shelf off central Vietnam, South China Sea. Geo-Mar Lett 29, 47–59 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00367-008-0122-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Continental Shelf
  • Sediment Yield
  • Outer Shelf
  • Sediment Accumulation Rate
  • 210Pb Activity