Hydrodynamics of a river-associated tidal inlet and maintenance of dynamic equilibrium: preliminary findings


Rodrigo Cienfuegos


Journal of Coastal Research


Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile


Ingeniería Civil, Ciencias de la Tierra


  1. Mauricio Villagran,, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, UCSC,
  2. Diego Caamaño,, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, UCSC
  3. Rodrigo Cienfuegos,, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Centro Nacional de Investigación para la Gestión Integrada de Desastres Naturales (CIGIDEN)




Detailed video images and ADCP measurements were used to describe the processes of suspended sediment transport by the Mataquito River into the Pacific Ocean. It is found that, in the absence of fluvial flood discharges, suspended sediment transport to the sea only takes place during low tide periods and it is characterized by pulses of different frequencies that in turn are related to the spatial velocity distribution at the river inlet. It was observed that at low tide the highest velocities are near the mouth of the river, presenting an heterogeneous spatial distribution. In this high speed zone, we hypothesized the shear stresses are big enough to re-suspend fine sediment that is transported into the ocean by the main river current. A simple conceptual explanation based on these findings is presented, seeking to explain the observed dynamic equilibrium of the Mataquito River inlet after the significant alterations produced by the 2010 M8.8 earthquake and tsunami.


River inlet, Hydrodynamics, ADCP measurements, Video monitoring


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