Spatial variability of surficial sediments on the northern shelf of the Alboran Sea: the effects of hydrodynamic forcing and supply of sediment by rivers
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AuthorsBárcenas-Gascón, P. (Patricia); Lobo, F.J. (Francisco J.); Macías, J.; Fernández-Salas, L.M. (Luis Miguel); Díaz-del-Río-Español, V. (Víctor)
Alboran Sea, shelf, surficial sediments, backscatter, hydrodynamic modelRecent surficial sedimentary processes led by hydrodynamic forcing and by laterally variable fluvial supplies are investigated in the eastern shelf of the northern Alboran Sea margin. This study highlights the high spatial variability of sedimentary processes in a relatively small area with an abrupt physiography and subjected to a seasonal and strongly fluctuating climate. We correlate seafloor sediments with backscatter distributions extracted from multibeam echo sounder data; in addition, a wind-forced tidal hydrodynamic model provides flow velocity and derived bed shear-stress values under contrasting wind conditions. In the study area, the relative proportions of gravel and muds within a dominantly sandy substratum control surficial backscatter intensities. Across-shelf, the only consistent surficial pattern is depicted by a high backscatter intensity, gravelly sandy infralittoral zone, which is subjected to ...