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1 July 2006 Late-Holocene Channel Meander Migration and Mudflat Accumulation Rates, Lagoon of Venice, Italy
Charles E. McClennen, Rupert A. Housley
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Coring in the Lagoon of Venice mudflats along previously collected high-resolution subbottom seismic-reflection survey profile lines has enabled the collection of interlayered radiocarbon-datable terrestrial plant material. Along present and former meander bends, dipping laminated sandy channel-bank deposits rest in sharp lithostratigraphic and chronologic contrast to the adjacent and overlying mudflat deposits. Horizontal channel migration rates of roughly 10 to 20 meters per century are orders of magnitude faster than the minimum estimates of vertical mudflat silt accumulation, which range from 5 to 25 centimeters per century. Given the nearly 6000-year history since the late-Holocene marine transgression that produced the initial lagoon environments of deposition, it is no surprise that channel meander migration has left a prevalence of channel-bank deposits in the subsurface lithostratigraphy. Furthermore, regional subsidence and rising relative sea level continue to enhance the net accumulation of mudflat and salt marsh deposition on top of the older deposits. Tapered variations of tidal-channel width, depth, and flow velocity, as well as wind-driven waves with associated intensities of turbulence along the meandering paths, lead to recognizable sediment grain size trends and lagoon deposit stratigraphy. Human interventions, such as dredging, spoil disposal, and powerboat wakes, introduce other contrasting processes and depositional features. For complete understanding of the depositional environments in the lagoon, the full set of dynamic processes and depositional consequences often need to be considered. Patterns and processes revealed in this case study probably have broad applicability to other coastal lagoon environments experiencing significant tidal flow and sea-level change.

Charles E. McClennen and Rupert A. Housley "Late-Holocene Channel Meander Migration and Mudflat Accumulation Rates, Lagoon of Venice, Italy," Journal of Coastal Research 2006(224), 930-945, (1 July 2006).
Received: 26 May 2004; Accepted: 29 June 2004; Published: 1 July 2006
coastal processes
Depositional environments
estuarine sedimentation
relative sea level
sea-level change
tidal-channel dynamics
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