Jin, C.; Gong, Z.; Geng, L.; Zhao, K.; Xu, B.B., and Coco. G., 2018. Subsurface processes in salt marsh of central Jiangsu coast(China). In: Shim, J.-S.; Chun, I., and Lim, H.S. (eds.), Proceedings from the International Coastal Symposium (ICS) 2018 (Busan, Republic of Korea). Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 85, pp. 296–300. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Studies of tidal flats morphodynamics tend to ignore subsurface processes like bioturbation or underground water dynamics so that changes in the surface elevation are always considered to be the result of sedimentation/erosion on the soil surface. However, at times, subsurface variations can be as large as elevation changes driven by sedimentation and so control the evolution trend of surface elevation. In this study, four observation sites were set up on the salt marsh in the central Jiangsu coast (China). A three-year field observation campaign has been carried out studying seabed elevation changes. The Surface Elevation Table-Marker Horizon (SET-MH) technique was applied to measure surface elevation and net sedimentation. The subsurface variation was derived from the difference between the surface elevation and the sedimentation. Results show that the changes in surface elevation are not equal to the sedimentation and that subsurface process, responsible for such deviation, are strongly affected by storm surge. Storm surges increase the underground water content leading to the observed expansion of the subsurface soil. The expansion results in the rapid increase of surface elevation and it takes almost one year to recover to the surface elevation before the storm season.