Tidal Inlets and Lagoons Along Siliciclastic Barrier Coasts

Jun 2, 2021

Author(s): Duncan M. FitzGerald and Michael D. Miner

Tidal Inlets are found along barrier coastlines throughout the world. They provide a pathway for navigation between the coastal ocean and sheltered waters. Along many coasts, including coastal plain settings (e.g., East and Gulf Coasts of the United States) and some deltaic environments (e.g., Nile and Niger Deltas), the only safe harborages and major ports, are found behind barrier islands. The importance of inlets in providing navigation routes to these harbors is demonstrated by the large number of improvements that are performed at the entrance to inlets such as the construction of jetties and breakwaters, dredging of channels, and the operation of sand bypassing facilities.

Diversity in the morphology, hydraulic signature, and sediment transport patterns of tidal inlets attests to the complexity of their processes. The variability in oceanographic, meteorologic, and geologic parameters, such as tidal range, wave energy, sediment supply, storm magnitude and frequency, fresh water influx, and geologic substrate, and the interactions of these factors, are responsible for this wide range in tidal inlet settings. More here.