Seasonal sediment transport pathways in Lirquen Harbor, Chile, as inferred from grain-size trends

Felipe Ríos, Marco Cisternas, Jacobus Le Roux, Iran Corrêa

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17 Scopus citations


Bottom sediment samples were collected in June and December 1997 at 166 stations on a rectangular grid in a small port (Lirquén Harbor, BíoBío Region, Central Southern Chile) facing siltation problems with a view to determining local seasonal sediment transport pathways through the application of three different methodologies based on grain-size trends. Measured winds and near-bottom currents together with hindcast wave allowed to establishing the influence of the prevailing meteorological and hydrodynamic conditions on local sediment circulation. The results suggest that transport of deep and shallow water sediments occur rarely under high-energy conditions. The current data suggest that tidal asymmetry would be an important agent of sediment transport in Lirquen Harbor. The sediment transport pathways inferred from grain-size trends are compared with the measured water circulation of the study area and sediment dispersal patterns on aerial photographs. The results yielded by the grain-size trend methodologies of Gao-Collins (1992) and Le Roux (1994b) indicate a possible seasonal variation in transport pathways agreeing with the prevailing meteo-hydrodynamic conditions, whereas the McLaren-Bowles (1985) approach does not show a significant difference. It is suggested that the latter methodology may represent transport on a spatial macroscale as opposed to the mesoscale patterns yielded by the other two techniques. Based on the results of the three grain-size trend methodologies, the observed current and wind data, the hindcast wave data and aerial photographs a conceptual model of net annual sediment transport is proposed for Lirquén Harbour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-23
Number of pages21
JournalInvestigaciones Marinas
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Grain-size trends
  • Lirquén Harbor
  • Sediment transport pathways
  • Southern Chile


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