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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.


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.


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.[5] 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.[5]

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.[5] Marshes are also the origins of coal/peat layers because of the abundant decaying plant life.[5]

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.[5]

Selected example areas[edit]


See also[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. ^ a b c d e Reineck, H.E, and I.B Singh, Deposistional Sedimentary Enviornments, 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.
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24088 videos foundNext > 

Mudflat Rescue

Air Date: 7.6.2012 Reporter: Natalie Travis, Photographer: Eric Stratton.

(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....

Dirty Video Warning: Alaska Mudflats!

An incredible day at the mudflats near Cook Inlet and on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska. The mudflats are sort of like Alaska's version of quicksand...it...

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!

Killdeer Chick Foraging on a Mud Flat

http://thebuffleheadbirder.com/ - a Killdeer chick searches for worms and small insects in the muddy shore along a pond. This little bird proved itself to be...

Seine Estuary & Lacrosse wellies - mud flat Part 3 - tease...

More playing with the boots & the mud.

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...

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...

Bordeaux- by Nick. Matney Cook and The Mudflat Walkers

Matney Cook and the Mudflat Walkers, Aug 30th at the Muse in Conway. Matney Cook singer/songwriter, Jeff Lacy drums, Kevin Olney bass, Theodora Jonsson violi...

24088 videos foundNext > 

43 news items

Newport News Times
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:41:15 -0700

The Lincoln City Rotary and Mo's Mud Flat Golf Classic takes place on Siletz Bay on Friday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. This is a charity event, and all funds raised by the $5 entry fee are donated to the Taft High School golf teams. Tee times are not needed ...

Somerville Beat

Somerville Beat
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:45:00 -0700

Food for Free works throughout the local community to provide food assistance, teaming up with businesses like Metro Pedal Power, which picks up food from area farmers markets, and Mudflat Studios, which recently hosted a fundraiser for the group ...

The Plain Dealer

The Plain Dealer
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:24:14 -0700

A flock of about a dozen pectoral sandpipers alit for a few minutes on a mudflat, and a greater yellowlegs called as it flew by. A sora and a common gallinule clucked from the marsh without exposing themselves. A walk through the woods revealed several ...


Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:07:30 -0700

“The display has been specifically designed for their unique requirements and we've included a sloping mudflat section for them to climb up on and floating leaves to rest on. “They also like to climb the glass and stick on to it about an inch or two ...
Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:25:27 -0700

Robert said that when they remove the dam the millpond would turn into a mudflat allowing invasive plants to migrate into where the millpond once was. Although Roberts is against removing the Marland Place Dam she is still in support of removing the ...
South China Morning Post
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:18:45 -0700

It found that the mudflat near Tong Fuk, a popular site for clam-digging and a breeding ground for horseshoe crabs, was not covered by a zoning plan covering the wider area. And even if it had been covered by the plan, its protection would be minimal.

The Dominion Post

The Dominion Post
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:48:45 -0700

Whai Repo referred to the eagle ray and came from the Maori words for stingray - whai - and for mudflat - repo. The trust chose the name because whai repo were often seen in the lagoon and were considered its guardians. As guardians they ensured that ...


Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:13:53 -0700

The column that feels as dead as the Quinton River tire stuck on the mudflat at low tide. —. Good afternoon! —. Ice on the deck where the sun doesn't shine, which meant almost falling on where the sun doesn't shine. —. “I hate to be a gloomy Gus or ...

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