Departmental Papers (EES)

Document Type

Review

Date of this Version

9-2015

Publication Source

Reviews of Geophysics

Volume

53

Issue

3

Start Page

642

Last Page

672

DOI

10.1002/2014RG000451

Abstract

Bars and subaqueous levees often form at river mouths due to high sediment availability. Once these deposits emerge and develop into islands, they become important elements of the coastal landscape, hosting rich ecosystems. Sea level rise and sediment starvation are jeopardizing these landforms, motivating a thorough analysis of the mechanisms responsible for their formation and evolution. Here we present recent studies on the dynamics of mouth bars and subaqueous levees. The review encompasses both hydrodynamic and morphological results. We first analyze the hydrodynamics of the water jet exiting a river mouth. We then show how this dynamics coupled to sediment transport leads to the formation of mouth bars and levees. Specifically, we discuss the role of sediment eddy diffusivity and potential vorticity on sediment redistribution and related deposits. The effect of waves, tides, sediment characteristics, and vegetation on river mouth deposits is included in our analysis, thus accounting for the inherent complexity of the coastal environment where these landforms are common. Based on the results presented herein, we discuss in detail how river mouth deposits can be used to build new land or restore deltaic shorelines threatened by erosion.

Copyright/Permission Statement

©2015 by the American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Keywords

river mouth, mouth bar, subaqueous levee, delta

Embargo Date

1-25-2016

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Date Posted: 11 November 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.