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General sketch-map of a tidal plain, showing the typical tripartition in supratidal, intertidal and subtidal zones. The most apparent character of the area is the development of tidal channels, affecting mainly the intertidal zone. In this case, the tidal flat is protected seaward by a beach barrier, but in many cases (low-energy waves and longshore currents) the tidal flats may directly pass into a shallow marine environment.

Mudflats or mud flats, also known as tidal flats, are coastal wetlands that form when mud is deposited by tides or rivers. They are found in sheltered areas such as bays, bayous, lagoons, and estuaries. Mudflats may be viewed geologically as exposed layers of bay mud, resulting from deposition of estuarine silts, clays and marine animal detritus. Most of the sediment within a mudflat is within the intertidal zone, and thus the flat is submerged and exposed approximately twice daily.

In the past tidal flats were considered unhealthy, economically unimportant areas and were often dredged and developed into agricultural land.[1] Several especially shallow mudflat areas, such as the Wadden Sea, are now popular among those practising the sport of mudflat hiking.

On the Baltic Sea coast of Germany in places, mudflats are exposed not by tidal action, but by wind-action driving water away from the shallows into the sea. These wind-affected mudflats are called windwatts in German.

Ecology[edit]

Mudflats near Oban on Stewart Island, New Zealand

Tidal flats, along with intertidal salt marshes and mangrove forests, are important ecosystems.[2] They usually support a large population of wildlife, and are a key habitat that allows tens of millions of migratory shorebirds to migrate from breeding sites in the northern hemisphere to non-breeding areas in the southern hemisphere. They are often of vital importance to migratory birds, as well as certain species of crabs,[3] mollusks and fish.[4] In the United Kingdom mudflats have been classified as a Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat.

The maintenance of mudflats is important in preventing coastal erosion. However, mudflats worldwide are under threat from predicted sea level rises, land claims for development, dredging due to shipping purposes, and chemical pollution. In some parts of the world, such as East and South-East Asia, mudflats have been reclaimed for aquaculture, agriculture, and industrial development. For example, around the Yellow Sea region of East Asia, more than 65% of mudflats have been destroyed over the past 50 years.[5][6]

Geology[edit]

Mudflat sediment deposits are focused into the intertidal zone which is composed of a barren zone, marsh and salt pan. Within these areas are various ratios of sand and mud that make up the sedimentary layers.[7] The associated growth of coastal sediment deposits can be attributed to rates of subsidence along with rates of deposition (example: silt transported via river) and changes in sea level.[7]

Barren zones extend from the lowest portion of the intertidal zone to the marsh areas. Beginning in close proximity to the tidal bars, sand dominated layers are prominent and become increasingly muddy throughout the tidal channels. Common bedding types include laminated sand, ripple bedding, and bay mud. Bioturbation also has a strong presence in barren zones.

Marshes contain an abundance of herbaceous plants while the sediment layers consist of thin sand and mud layers. Mudcracks are a common as well as wavy bedding planes.[7] Marshes are also the origins of coal/peat layers because of the abundant decaying plant life.[7]

Salt pans can be distinguished in that they contain thinly laminated layers of clayey silt. The main source of the silt comes from rivers. Dried up mud along with wind erosion forms silt dunes. When flooding, rain or tides come in, the dried sediment is then re-distributed.[7]

Selected example areas[edit]

Mudflats in Brewster, Massachusetts, United States, extending hundreds of yards offshore at the low tide. The line of seashells in the foreground indicates the high-water mark.
Gulls feeding on mudflats in Skagit Bay, Washington.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dredging Indian River Lagoon Wetlands 1920 - 1950s
  2. ^ Tidal flat habitats
  3. ^ Mud crab (Scylla serrata) culture in tidal flats with existing mangroves
  4. ^ Manko - Tidal Flat, Mangrove Forest
  5. ^ MacKinnon, J.; Verkuil, Y.I.; Murray, N.J. (2012), IUCN situation analysis on East and Southeast Asian intertidal habitats, with particular reference to the Yellow Sea (including the Bohai Sea), Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 47, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN, p. 70, ISBN 9782831712550 
  6. ^ Murray, N.J.; Clemens, R.S.; Phinn, S.R.; Possingham, H.P.; Fuller, R.A. (2014), "Tracking the rapid loss of tidal wetlands in the Yellow Sea", Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12 (5): 267–272, doi:10.1890/130260 /
  7. ^ a b c d e Reineck, H.E, and I.B Singh, Deposistional Sedimentary Environments, 2nd Ed. New York: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 1980, pp. 418-428

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudflat — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
24127 videos foundNext > 

(Korean Culture 100) Mudflats, a Beautiful Ocean Field Created by Humans and Nature_한국의 갯벌

Mudflats, a Beautiful Ocean Field Created by Humans and Nature Part 1. Watercolor Picture of Time Painted on Mud The morning sun shines on the calm mudflats....

The Return of Superman - Experiencing the Mud Flat at Jebudo

The Return of Superman - Experiencing the Mud Flat at Jebudo] - For more info: http://kbsworld.kbs.co.kr/programs/programs_intro.html?no=728 ---------------...

Invincible Youth 2 | 청춘불패 2 - Ep.2 : Surviving at the mudflat!

Surviving at the mudflat! Spcial mission, catch octopus~ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subscribe KBS W...

Mudflat Mysteries

What goes on beneath that broad glassy surface while the water's in? Find out with this underwater time-lapse of the marine mudflats!

Bottlenose Dolphin: Mudflat Hunting

In a strange hunting technique, Bottlenose Dolphins in Georgia and South Carolina waters not only drive fish ashore but throw themselves onto land to collect...

Fooling around in the mudflat

Pull on my wellies and explore a bit in the mudflat.

Tidal Mudflat Aquarium - mudskippers

This is a tidal mudflat aquarium that I have designed to try and get my mudskipper pair to reproduce. As this species inhabits mudflats that are innundated 2...

Mud mate trashing trackies in mudflat

Mate having fun in trackies and trainers in this mudflat.

Lydia Pinkham & The Denver Hot Flashes - Mudflat Blues

Awesome slice of 60's Bay area blues in a Big Bro Holding Co style. Apparently this is Lydia Pense under an early pseudonym.

25 mercury on mud flat

Ole merc Eatin through.

24127 videos foundNext > 

3739 news items

LA Magazine (blog)

LA Magazine (blog)
Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:00:00 -0800

The swampy mudflat now known as Balboa Island was once part of Los Angeles County, though not good for too much—that is, until the enterprising McFadden brothers, James and Robert, bought it (along with much of the ocean front of Newport Beach) and ...

Janesville Gazette

Janesville Gazette
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:54:14 -0800

The dam now mainly serves to keep the wide spot in the river along Monterey Park from becoming a mudflat. City officials are in early steps to decide whether the city-owned dam, a fixture along the Rock River since its construction in 1848, should be ...

The Salem News

The Salem News
Mon, 23 Feb 2015 20:56:34 -0800

During the tour, seniors Jeremy Smalley of Lynn, Shirley Bachini of Beverly and Sabrina Napoli of Saugus gave lawmakers a sampling of the work they did with mudflat ecosystems during on a field trip to St. Andrews in New Brunswick, Canada, last year.
 
Mainichi Daily News
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:26:15 -0800

Under the new project plan, the central and prefectural governments will reclaim about 95 hectares of the mudflat and its surrounding sea areas, and the prefectural and municipal governments will develop an artificial island. The original project ...
 
San Jose Mercury News
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 11:00:19 -0800

... Milpitas' own sewage pump station, various other composting and waste recovery activities nearby and that oldtime source of smells when tides and temperatures are right, the South Bay mudflat margins and creek banks which were places where organic ...

The Courier-Journal

The Courier-Journal
Tue, 10 Feb 2015 12:29:24 -0800

Creighton recalled taking a kayak with Priest along a remote waterway and almost getting stuck on a mudflat. When Priest began considering a series on Douglass, who was born less than 30 miles from Tubman, he worked closely with Walsh but continued ...

Phys.Org

Phys.Org
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 06:50:17 -0800

"This allowed us to infer the elevations across the mudflat from a mathematical standpoint and, at the same time, use the thermal imaging camera to create an elevation contour by sensing differences in temperature at the water's edge." Co-authors ...

UD Daily

UD Daily
Wed, 11 Feb 2015 09:03:45 -0800

11:56 a.m., Feb. 11, 2015--University of Delaware researcher Jack Puleo reports a new method to remotely survey tidal mudflats in the IEEE journal Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing. The paper, titled “Quantifying Tidal ...
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