Articles | Volume 5, issue 4
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-5-617-2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-5-617-2017
Research article
 | 
09 Oct 2017
Research article |  | 09 Oct 2017

Effects of mud supply on large-scale estuary morphology and development over centuries to millennia

Lisanne Braat, Thijs van Kessel, Jasper R. F. W. Leuven, and Maarten G. Kleinhans

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Short summary
Mud raises concern in the short-term management of estuaries, but it is not known whether cohesive mud affects the long-term development of estuaries. We discovered that a small supply of mud from the river confines the estuary by forming stable mudflats on the sides in centuries, whereas estuaries with only sand continue to grow. Mudflats also reduce the shifting of channels and bars. This implies that changes in mud supply in estuaries may have led to changes in shape and dynamics in the past.