The Influences of Suspended Load on the Sedimentation in the Coastal Zones and Continental Shelves of China

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The coastline of China intersects belts of subsidence and uplift. River sediments mainly discharge to the coastal zones of subsidence belts, where they contribute more than 90% of the total suspended load of river sediment transported into the coastal zones. Rivers discharging into the coastal zones of the uplift belts contribute no more than 10% of the total. In coastal zone subsidence belts, tidal-flat deposits develop, and Quaternary strata are quite thick. In coastal zone uplift belts, in contrast, beach sand and gravel and aeolian sand develop. Only where great amounts of fine sediments are provided to coastal uplift zones by the adjacent major rivers can tidal-flat deposits develop. Quaternary strata are thin in uplift belts, and patchy relict sediments are present on the continental shelves. On the continental shelves of the southern part of the East China Sea and the South China Sea, where discharge of river sediments is fairly small, relict sediments form a broad continuous deposit. Marine processes can transport the sediments of large rivers into the mouths of small adjacent rivers where various sand and mud bodies form. So far in the coastal zones of China no coastal depositional body is known to have formed from sediments derived directly from the continental shelves.

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Marine Geology, v. 96, issues 3-4, p. 341-352