Hill, P.S. and Gelati, S., 2017. Competent vs. observed grain size on the seabed of the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy.
The output of a three-dimensional tidal circulation model and nearly 10,000 sediment samples are used to compare observed and competent grain sizes on the floor of the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy. Competent grain size is the largest grain size a flow is capable of mobilizing. Competent and observed grain sizes have similar broad spatial distributions. Coarser observed grain sizes are found in regions of larger stress, and associated coarser competent grain sizes and finer observed sizes are found in regions with finer competent sizes. Areas in which competent sizes are finer than observed sizes likely have significant sources of seabed stress that are not included in the model, specifically from waves and subtidal flows. Areas in which competent sizes are coarser than observed sizes likely are regions where sediment input into the region overwhelms the ability of near-bed flows to transport sediment away from the region, leaving the seabed with a texture similar to that of the supply. The results indicate that sediment texture is unlikely to change greatly if large-scale tidal power development is pursued in Minas Passage, which connects the Minas Basin to the Outer Bay of Fundy. Forecast changes of sediment texture in the Gulf of Maine are small, and in the Bay of Fundy, sediment texture is unlikely to change because it is dominated by sediment supply, which should not be affected by tidal power development.