Wang, L.; Yu, Q.; Zhang, Y., and Gao, S., 2020. Morphological characteristics of low-angle dunes on a tidal ridge, the Jiangsu macrotidal coast, China. In: Malvárez, G. and Navas, F. (eds.), Global Coastal Issues of 2020. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 95, pp. 717-721. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Subaqueous dunes are typical flow-transverse rhythmic bedforms in fluvial, intertidal and marine environments. The low-angle dunes (LADs), commonly associated with a leeside angle of less than 15°, differ in terms of the formation mechanism from the high-angle dunes (HADs). Here, multibeam echosounder exploration and seafloor surficial sediment sampling were carried out on a tidal sand ridge off the Jiangsu coast, China, a macrotidal area with the spring tidal range exceeding 6 m. The spatial distribution of the dune morphological parameters, including wave height, wavelength, asymmetry, and lee-side angle, are analyzed in association with the water depth and seafloor sediment. The following results are obtained. (1) Two-dimensional linear dunes are superimposed on the tidal ridge, and a total of 3599 dunes detected are all LADs with an average maximum leeside angle of 5.46°. (2) The spatial distribution of the dune parameters is closely related to the topography of the ridge-swath system. The asymmetries and migration directions of the dunes on the northern and southern slopes of the tidal ridge are opposite, indicating a clockwise residual sand circulation, while the ridge represents the transition zone with relatively symmetrical dunes. (3) Water depth is the controlling factor for the dune geometry in shallow water places. In areas where water depth is below 7.5 m and the seafloor sediments are composed of pure sand, the scales of LADs are proportional to the water depth. (4) Bed sediment composition becomes important for the deeper water areas. For water depth more than 7.5 m, the ratio of cohesive particles (< 8 µm) of bed sediment, which increases with the water depth, inhibits the growth of the LADs. These observations reveal the behavior of LADs in association with sediment particle size and water depth.