Threshold sediment flux for the formation of river deltas in Hainan Island, southern China

Abstract

The knowledge of geomorphological evolution from an estuary to a river delta is necessary to form the formulation of comprehensive land-ocean interaction management strategies. In this study, the dominant factor controlling the geomorphological variability and the threshold sediment flux (TSF) to form a river delta in Hainan Island, southern China, including accommodation space, sediment supply, and reworking forces, was investigated by the method of big data analytics. The results indicated the 25 estuaries in consideration can be divided into three geographical groups, i.e. the multi-factors-controlled northern mixed estuaries, wave-dominated western estuaries with river deltas, and typhoon-dominated eastern coastal lagoon estuaries. For alluvial plain (AP) estuaries, the order of magnitude of TSFs is the smallest (101 kt·yr–1), for barrier-lagoon (BL) ones is the highest (> 102 kt·yr–1), and for drowned valley (DV) ones is moderate (102 kt·yr–1). The river deltas associated with DV systems should be relatively large, and those related to BLs should be small, with the AP deltas being between the above mentioned types. The present study provides a technique to evaluate the role played by TSF for the formation of river deltas in micro-tidal and wave-dominated and typhoon-influenced coastal environments.

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Correspondence to Shu Gao.

Additional information

Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41530962, No.41706096; This study also supports in part by the China Scholarship Council, No.201606190151

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Li, G., Zhou, L., Qi, Y. et al. Threshold sediment flux for the formation of river deltas in Hainan Island, southern China. J. Geogr. Sci. 29, 146–160 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11442-019-1589-y

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Keywords

  • estuarine geomorphology
  • dominant factor
  • typhoon processes
  • threshold sediment flux
  • river delta
  • Hainan Island