Lee, H.J.; Park, J.Y.; Lee, S.H.; Lee, J.M., and Kim, T.K., 2013. Suspended sediment transport in a rock-bound, macrotidal estuary: Han estuary, eastern Yellow Sea.
The Yellow Sea is fringed with deltas and estuaries on the Chinese and Korean coasts, respectively. The Korean estuaries, rock bound on the ria coast, are represented by the Han estuary, the largest in the eastern Yellow Sea. To reveal the relationship between extensive tidal flats and major channels in the Han estuary, suspended sediment transport was observed from the water column down to the bottom boundary layer. Transecting channels and deploying benthic tripods were accomplished at a number of critical sites during different spring tides, mostly under the fair-weather conditions of dry seasons in 2006–08. The hydrodynamic measurements unraveled the role of macrotidal currents in estuarine suspended transport. According to lateral momentum analyses, cross-channel flows were governed by two forces: rotation and surface slope. The estimations of suspended flux and lateral momentum balance elucidated that, of the two candidate channels, the Yeomha Channel dominantly supplied riverine muds to the adjacent vast Ganghwa tidal flats. The other larger channel, Sukmo, was found to displace muds up the channel to the Han River mouth. Another offshore major channel, Jangbong, revealed small suspended flux, reflecting no substantial mud input of offshore origin into the Han estuary. This study may be timely in that most Korean estuaries have artificially developed and are facing various environmental problems.