Kong, J.; Pan, M.; Shen, C.; Hua, G., and Zhao, H., 2016. Analysis of the morphological changes and related sediment transport mechanisms of the Baisha Shoal in the Qiongzhou Strait, China.
The morphological changes and evolutionary mechanism of the Baisha Shoal in the Qiongzhou Strait were investigated using various methods, including bathymetric chart comparisons, geomodeling, hydrodynamic modeling, and hydrologic statistical analysis. Water depths were extracted from digitized charts to explore the evolution of the Baisha Shoal and to quantitatively estimate the changes in the shoal area within the 5-m isobath. The grain-size trend analysis (GSTA) model was introduced to explain the features of bed sediment distribution and to analyze the sources of the sediment. Tidal flow models and wave models were adopted to simulate the tidal flows and wave fields around the Baisha Shoal and to reveal the sediment transport dynamics. Further comparisons based on a Mann-Kendall trend analysis and remote-sensing image data from different years were used to discuss the reason for the recent evolution of the Baisha Shoal. The results show that the formation of the Baisha Shoal was caused by the combined effects of reciprocating flow in the eastern and western directions and waves from the NE direction. However, in recent years, the Baisha Shoal has demonstrated an unsteady geomorphological state and is transitioning from a deposition-dominated state to an erosion-dominated state. Erosion has become most significant since 2004, as reflected in the shoal area within the 5-m isobath, which is decreasing by 0.732 km2/y. The analysis demonstrated that a reduction in sediment load and increased sand mining are the two most significant factors that are progressively altering the shoal morphology. If these issues cannot be resolved, the strong dynamic surroundings will aggravate the erosion of the Baisha Shoal. This study on the Baisha Shoal highlights the necessity of combining different approaches to better understand coastal evolutionary features, dynamic mechanisms, and evolutionary causes, as well as to guide future coastal protection engineering design.