On the Use of Empirical Stability Relationships for Characterising Estuaries

Terry M. Hume, Charles E. Herdendorf


Data from New Zealand and overseas studies are used to support the hypothesis that area-prism (A - Ω) relationships, like those used to characterise the entrance throat stability of barrier enclosed tidal inlets on exposed sandy coasts, hold for a wide variety of estuary types ranging from lagoon to river mouth situations to large coastal embayments. The relationships indicate that both the bay size and the amount of littoral drift are important in determining the geometry of estuary mouths. The empirical relationships can be used to characterise and classify estuaries.


Estuaries; inlets; coastal geomorphology; models; New Zealand

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