Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 69 ›› Issue (3): 378-390.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201403009

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Characteristics and formation mechanisms of the rhythmic morphology of salt-marsh edge cliffs

ZHAO Yangyang1, GAO Shu1,2, WANG Dandan1, XU Zhen1, ZHU Dong1, WANG Xiaofeng1   

  1. 1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    2. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Coast and Island Development, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
  • Received:2013-09-22 Revised:2013-12-23 Online:2014-03-20 Published:2014-03-20
  • Supported by:
    Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu,No.BK2011012

Abstract: Marsh-edge cliffs represent a unique geomorphological unit at the border of marsh vegetation and the intertidal mud flat. Research on the processes and mechanisms for the formation of salt-marsh marginal cliffs will improve our understanding of the influence of salt marshes on tidal flat growth and stability. Based on the results obtained from the measurements and analyses of morphological parameters of salt-marsh cliffs in the Yancheng Nature Reserve, central Jiangsu coasts, during December 2013, the development of the rhythmic morphology associated with the marsh cliff may be divided into three stages. These stages of long-term evolution present cyclical patterns and are related to seasonal changes in wave conditions. Furthermore, the formation of significantly rhythmic features of salt-marsh marginal cliffs may be explained partly by the theory of standing edge waves. In the future, numerical modeling can be applied to investigate the formation mechanisms of marsh-edge cliffs associated with such rhythmic features, in combination with in situ measurements for wave climates and sediment dynamics.

Key words: marsh-edge cliffs, edge wave theory, geomorphological evolution stages and equilibrium, Jiangsu coast, rhythmic morphology