ABSTRACT

Amos, C.L.; Kassem, H.; Bergamasco, A.; Sutherland, T.F., and Cloutier, D., . The mass settling flux of suspended particulate matter in Venice Lagoon, Italy.

A multidisciplinary study of the stability of the tidal flats of Venice Lagoon has provided field and laboratory data on the factors influencing the mass settling rates of material in suspension. This work was performed using two in situ benthic flumes (Sea Carousel and Mini Flume) in association with a wide range of physical and biological measurements undertaken during the summer of 1998 and the subsequent winter. Also, controlled experiments on erosion/sedimentation of prepared beds were carried out using Lab Carousel, a laboratory equivalent of Sea Carousel. Particle size and mass settling rates were found to be largely independent of suspended sediment concentration but strongly controlled by the antecedent bed shear stresses that led to the suspension. Results between the three flume types differed because of differences in the induced stress history created in each case. Comparable results were obtained by normalizing mass settling rate to the mean friction velocity of the flow during settling, i.e. the Rouse parameter , and by use of the mean dimensionless particle diameter (D*). Results fell in line with results on carbonate and silica sands of the inlets of the lagoon. The mean particle diameter (df) varied in proportion to the applied shear stress and shear rate (G) suggesting that the suspended particles were eroded aggregates not floccules. The effective density of these aggregates was least (∼16 kgm−3) at the largest sizes (df > 1 × 10−4 m) and greatest (∼160–1600 kgm−3) at the smallest sizes (df < 1 × 10−4 m). The lack of an increase in df at low shear rates suggests that flocculation was not taking place. The mean deposition threshold (all experiments) was 0.68 Pa, which is less than the mean erosion threshold from these sites (0.78 Pa).

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