DOI: 10.3390/jmse11091697 ISSN:

Roles of Exposure Time and Geochemical Factors in the Characteristics of the Surface Sediments of the Hwangdo Tidal Flat, Taean, Cheonsu Bay, West Coast of Korea

Jun-Ho Lee, Han Jun Woo, Hoi Soo Jung, Yeongjae Jang, Joo Bong Jeong, Keunyong Kim, Jaehwan Seo, Joo-Hyung Ryu
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

The Hwangdo tidal flat is an intertidal landform located in Cheonsu Bay, Taean-gun, Chungcheongnam-do, on the west coast of Korea. The topographical characteristics of the semi-enclosed bay on the eastern side of the study area include waterways, sandbars, small islands, and tidal flats. In this study, data were acquired from tide gauges installed on the Hwangdo Bridge, and the height of the ellipsoid was measured using a real-time kinematics global positioning system (RTK-GPS). Digital elevation model (DEM) using Matrice 300 drone data were also acquired after processing. The geochemical sediment characteristics in the study area were analyzed, together with tidal-flat exposure-time characteristics based on environmental factors. Sediment data (n = 107) collected from October 25 to 28, 2022 (Korean local time) were used to classify sediment particles according to Folk and Ward (1957). Sedimentary facies ranged from coarse sand (sand:mud ratio = 9:1) to sandy silt (sZ) followed by muddy sand (mS) and slightly gravelly sandy mud ((g)sM). Total organic carbon (TOC) in the surface sediments was also characterized based on a particle-size analysis. The mean change in tidal height measured at Hwangdo Bridge during the sampling period was ~7.53 m (minimum: −3.86 m, maximum: +3.67 m). Based on the Boryeong’s sea level measurement tide data in 2022, the tidal area in the drone images ranged from 6.362 m2 (0.006 km2) at DEM +4.0 to 4,841,078 m2 (4.841 km2) at DEM −4.0 m, indicating an increase in the tidal-flat area according to the tidal level of up to ~800-fold. The daily average exposure time was 9.0 h (minimum: 1.5 h, maximum: 17.9 h). Based on the results of multivariate analysis using exposure times and a geochemical dataset, four groups were identified: upper, middle, and lower intertidal zones and regions with a relatively high organic-matter concentration. A determination of the main characteristics of the Hwangdo tidal flat according to their spatial distribution showed that, among various environmental factors, changes in the sand or clay sediment composition were determined by community factors. The results of this study demonstrate the four statistically processed groups of marine environmental characteristics in the Hwangdo tidal flats. Changes in sedimentary patterns, rather than in the exposure time, accounted for the differences in the sediment compositions of the upper, middle, and lower stations, a response that is expected to continue.

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