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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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10306 videos foundNext > 

Mudflat Rescue

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

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...

(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....

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!

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

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


We are back at "the common" today for some mud flat flying as the tides were a little high on the beach for Jim's larger aircraft ,but the extra room did not...

March of the Mudflats

The water is away, but what are all those patterns? Could anything survive this low tide desert? Take a longer look as the water marches away, leaving the mu...

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

More playing with the boots & the mud.

Mud Flat Girl - Performance Art - Part 1

Beta edit, an 18 year old girl ventures out onto some mud flats.

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...

10306 videos foundNext > 

47 news items

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 ...
Eater National
Wed, 09 Apr 2014 11:41:54 -0700

Also, Johnny D's bartender Sam Newman was busy crafting teapots at Mudflat Studio, and Kindred received lab approval to offer soda and shrub concentrates as retail products. Stay tuned for an opening date. · Kindred [Official Site] · All coverage of ...

Somerville Beat

Somerville Beat
Fri, 11 Apr 2014 04:03:45 -0700

Empty Bowls: Join local nonprofit Food for Free for a benefit at Mudflat Studios (81 Broadway) this Saturday from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Tickets to Empty Bowls get attendees soup, bread, drinks and a one-of-a-kind, handmade bowl for their soup that they can ...
PR Newswire (press release)
Fri, 11 Apr 2014 12:01:09 -0700

The Group is completing the targeted removal of a mudflat at River Mile 10.9 in Lyndhurst, and is scheduled to submit the remedial investigation (RI) for the entire 17-mile Lower Passaic River study area to the EPA next year. It is questionable why the ...

Bay Nature

Bay Nature
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 14:41:01 -0700

The thick mudflat bubbles with each footfall as they make their way across, careful not to slow their pace lest they get stuck and sink. Their goal this evening is to gather water quality data and take some samples using a fish-tank vacuum to see what ...

Bay Nature

Bay Nature
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 12:30:00 -0700

The once-clogged channel now has open mudflat. (Photo courtesy Invasive Spartina Project). The ISP was established in 2000 with the goal of eradicating the non-native plants and restoring the wetlands. Having tried various forms of mechanical removal ...

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