Abstract

The strong tidal currents of the Minas Passage in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, have made this area an important site for testing and development of tidal power technologies. Understanding sediment processes in this area is essential for determining the impacts that large-scale tidal power extraction would have on the system. Previous estimates of sediment input to the Basin suggest that much more sediment enters the Basin than accumulates within it; therefore, the bottom sediment texture should be in hydrodynamic equilibrium with bottom currents. A recent study, however, showed that sediment texture is generally finer that what was expected based on current speeds. This paper uses geographic information systems methods to provide updated and more highly resolved measurements of the amount of sediment entering the Minas Basin from the dominant source, which is coastal erosion. Volumetric input from coastal erosion is 1.1 × 106 m3·a−1, which is more than two times smaller than previous estimates. This updated value makes input rates comparable to accumulation rates, and agrees with the hypothesis that bottom sediment texture is not in equilibrium with current speeds. Grain-size distributions also support the hypothesis that the Minas Basin acts as a sediment trap.

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