Influence of friction on erosion and accretion processes in the Yavaros Bay, Gulf of California.

Carbajal Noel, Dworak Juan A., Montano-Ley Yovani y Noyola-Medrano Cristina
Environmental Earth Science, 72(2): 429-440 , 2014.


A two-dimensional, vertically integrated, nonlinear numerical model was applied to investigate the tide-driven bed load transport of sediments and morphodynamics in the shallow coastal lagoon of Yavaros, located in the southeastern part of the Gulf of California, Mexico. Satellite imagery exposes strong sediment dynamics in this coastal region. The dynamics in the lagoon were forced by 13 tidal constituents at the open boundary. Tides are of a mixed character and they are predominantly semidiurnal. The calculations showed areas of intense tidal currents and considerable water exchange with the Gulf of California. Numerical experiments revealed an ebb-dominant tidal distortion and a net export of sediment from the lagoon to the Gulf of California. A simulation of 20 years showed that the lagoon exported about 1,600 m3 of sediment; however, the daily oscillating exchange of sediment reached values of around 8 m3. The daily averaged flux of export�import sediments oscillates principally with semiannual, monthly and fortnightly periods. By applying a threshold velocity, a variable friction coefficient and the calculated amplitude of tidal velocities, it was possible to determine that morphological changes occur in zones of sharp topographic gradients and to explain the effect of friction on the export�import process of sediments. A 10-year simulation revealed that accumulation of sediment (~20 cm) occurred in small areas, whereas erosion occurred in larger areas but with less intensity (~8 cm). Besides the importance for the morphodynamics, these kinds of erosion-accretion processes may be relevant for the marine ecology.