Physical characteristics of tide-dominated estuaries

  1. Tide-dominated estuaries are distinguished by relatively high tidal energy at the mouth compared with wave energy.
  2. Near the mouth, total energy is high because both tidal energy is high and wave energy is moderate.
  3. Inside the estuary, wave energy is reduced over extensive tidal sand banks, thus decreasing total energy.
  4. Total energy rises to a maximum where the difference between the effects of constriction by the funnel-shaped entrance (tidal-amplification) and effects of dissipation by sediment shoals is greatest.
  5. Further headward, total energy falls to a minimum because friction created by the sediment shoals becomes greater than tidal amplification.
  6. Total energy rises in the river-dominated zone because of constriction at the head.


Physical characteristics of a Tide-dominated Estuary

(After Heap et al. 2001)