Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2006, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (5): 537-548.doi: 10.11821/xb200605010

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A Preliminary Study on the Morphodynamic Evolution of the‘Gate’of the Pearl River Delta, China

WU Chaoyu1, REN Jie1, BAO Yun1,2, SHI Heyin1, LEI Yaping1, HE Zhigang1, TANG Zhaomin1   

  1. 1. Center for Coastal Ocean Science and Technology Research, Zhongshan University, Guangzhou 510275, China;
    2. Department of Mechanics, Zhongshan University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2005-10-26 Revised:2006-03-18 Online:2006-05-25 Published:2006-05-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40331007; No.40176026; No.40406016: The Project of 985, No.105203200400006


The Pearl River estuary system consists of a complicated stream network and estuarine bays, the two portions of the estuary system are connected by 'men' (meaning 'gate' in Chinese), a special morphological unit. During the last transgression, the ancient Pearl River estuarine bay was separated into inner and outer bays by a series of rocky islands. The brackish water of inner and outer bays is connected at only several locations through rocky gorges which became 'gates', the outlets of the network system. Based on hydrographical investigations, bore hole data, topographic maps and with the application of the long-term morphodynamic model PRD-LTMM on the delta evolution since 6000 aBP, the present a morphodynamic study focuses on (1) bi-direction jet system of modern 'gate', (2) evolution of 'gate', (3) effect of 'gate' on tidal energy convergence, (4) coupling development of 'gate' with the associated Pearl River Delta plain, and (5) mechanism of 'gate' on the formation of the network system. Mainly due to the geological constraint of the coast and the effects on the re-distribution of marine and river energy, the evolution of the Pearl River Delta and estuary system is unique among the large scale delta and estuary systems in the world.

Key words: estuary, delta, morphodynamics, ‘men’, Pearl River