Sorted Bedforms Developed on Sandy Deposits Derived from Small Ephemeral Streams (Catalan Continental Shelf)

  • Ruth DuránEmail author
  • Jorge Guillén
  • Araceli Muñoz


Multibeam echosounder data and sediment samples were used to characterize sorted bedforms on the inner shelf off Lloret and Tossa de Mar (NW Mediterranean Sea). The sorted bedforms are formed by a sequence of coarse-grained (coarse sand) and fine-grained (fine to medium sand) domains, with little topographic relief (up to 1 m). They exhibit elongated shapes and are oriented nearly perpendicular to the shoreline, at water depths ranging from 10 to 40 m. The sorted bedforms display lateral symmetry in backscatter and bathymetric relief with high backscatter centred on the bathymetric depression. They appear associated with elongated sand deposits fed by short, ephemeral streams that extend across-shelf over the infralittoral prograding wedge down to 40 m water depth. Sorted bedforms are better developed in deeper waters (20–40 m), probably due to stronger hydrodynamic conditions in the shallower sector of the shelf, which prevent the development or maintenance of these morphological features. The morphological evolution of these bedforms indicates that they are persistent features, showing small changes in their boundaries over a decadal timescale.


Persistent sorted bedforms Bedform evolution Inner shelf Ephemeral streams NW mediterranean 



This work was funded by the FORMED project (CGL2012-33989) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. The authors wish to thank the Secretaría General de Pesca and Tragsa for the 2004 Espace Project dataset, the captain and the crew of the R/V García del Cid and the UTM technicians for their assistance. R. Durán is supported by a CSIC JAE-Doc contract co-funded by the FSE.


  1. Coco, G., Murray, a. B., Green, M.O. (2007a). Sorted bed forms as self-organized patterns: 1. Model development. J. Geophys. Res. 112, F03015. doi: 10.1029/2006JF000665
  2. Coco, G., Murray, a. B., Green, M.O., Thieler, E.R., Hume, T.M. (2007b). Sorted bed forms as self-organized patterns: 2. Complex forcing scenarios. J. Geophys. Res. 112, F03016. doi: 10.1029/2006JF000666
  3. Davis, A.C.D., Kvitek, R.G., Mueller, C.B. A., Young, M. A., Storlazzi, C.D., Phillips, E.L. (2013). Distribution and abundance of rippled scour depressions along the California coast. Cont. Shelf Res. 69, 88–100. doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2013.09.010
  4. De Falco, G., Budillon, F., Conforti, A., Di Bitetto, M., Di Martino, G., Innangi, S., Simeone, S., Tonielli, R. (2015). Sorted bedforms over transgressive deposits along the continental shelf of western Sardinia (Mediterranean Sea). Mar. Geol. 359, 75–88. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2014.11.008
  5. Diesing, M., Kubicki, A., Winter, C., Schwarzer, K. (2006). Decadal scale stability of sorted bedforms, German Bight, southeastern North Sea. Cont. Shelf Res. 26, 902–916. doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2006.02.009
  6. Durán, R., Canals, M., Lastras, G., Micallef, A., Amblas, D., Pedrosa-Pàmies, R., Sanz, J.L. (2013). Sediment dynamics and post-glacial evolution of the continental shelf around the Blanes submarine canyon head (NW Mediterranean). Prog. Oceanogr. 118, 28–46. doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2013.07.031
  7. Eittreim, S. L., Anima, R. J., Stevenson A. J. (2002). Seafloor geology of the Monterey Bay area continental shelf, Mar. Geol., 181, 3–34. doi: 10.1016/S0025-3227(01)00259-6
  8. Ferrini, V.L., Flood, R.D. (2005). A comparison of rippled scour depression identified with multibeam sonar: evidence for sediment transport in inner shelf environments. Cont. Shelf Res. 25, 1979–1995. doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2005.07.002
  9. Goff, J. A., L. A. Mayer, P. Traykovski, I. Buynevich, R. Wilkens, R. Raymond, G. Glang, R. L. Evans, H. Olson, and C. Jenkins. (2005). Detailed investigation of sorted bedforms, or ‘‘rippled scour depressions,’’ within the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory, Massachusetts, Cont. Shelf Res. 25, 461–484. doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2004.09.019
  10. Goldstein, E.B., Murray, a. B., Coco, G. (2011). Sorted bedform pattern evolution: Persistence, destruction and self-organized intermittency. Geophys. Res. Lett. 38, L24402. doi: 10.1029/2011GL049732
  11. Hume, T. M., Trembanis, A. C., Hill, A., Liefting R., Stephens S. (2003). Spatially variable, temporally stable, sedimentary facies on an energetic inner shelf, in Coastal Sediments’03 edited by A. Press, Am. Soc. Civ. Eng., Reston, Va.Google Scholar
  12. Lo Iacono, C., Guillén, J. (2008). Environmental conditions for gravelly and pebbly dunes and sorted bedforms on a moderate-energy inner shelf (Marettimo Island, Italy, western Mediterranean). Cont. Shelf Res. 28, 245–256. doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2007.08.005
  13. Martin-Vide, J., Sanchez-Lorenzo, A., Lopez-Bustins, J.A., Cordobilla, M.J., Garcia-Manuel, A., Raso, J.M. (2008). Torrential rainfall in northeast of the Iberian Peninsula: synoptic patterns and WeMO influence. Advances in Science and Research 2, 99–105.Google Scholar
  14. Murray, A.B., Thieler, E.R. (2004). A new hypothesis and exploratory model for the formation of large-scale inner-shelf sediment sorting and “rippled scour depressions.” Cont. Shelf Res. 24, 295–315. doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2003.11.001
  15. Trembanis, A.C., Hume, T.M. (2011). Sorted bedforms on the inner shelf off northeastern New Zealand: spatiotemporal relationships and potential paleo-environmental implications. Geo-Marine Lett. 31, 203–214. doi: 10.1007/s00367-010-0225-8

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Tragsa-SGPMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations