Exploratory morphodynamic modeling of the evolution of the Jiangsu coast, China, since 1855: Contributions of old Yellow River-derived sediment

Min Su, Peng Yao, Zhengbing Wang, C.K. Zhang, Marcel Stive

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10 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we aim to investigate the overall morphological evolution of the Jiangsu coast after 1855, when the Yellow River shifted northward. We focus on fine sediment transport between two large-scale geomorphological units, i.e., the Abandoned Yellow River Delta (AYD) and the Radial Sand Ridges (RSRs). An existing morphodynamic model, which was established for reproducing the development of the AYD before 1855, is modified and extended. In addition to the tidal forcing, waves and human interventions (i.e., revetments) are considered in the model. The model results are compared with the existing data. Both the evolution trend of the Jiangsu coast and the spatial distribution of the offshore shoals show good agreement. The simulated fine sediment depositions in different periods are consistent with the geological measurements. The results reveal that the old Yellow River-derived sediment not only contributes to the sedimentation in the RSRs but can also be transported to the adjacent zones, especially farther south/southeast. Moreover, the spatial distribution of fine sediment deposits varies in the RSRs. The different sedimentary environments in the Dongsha and Tiaozini ridges result in significant grain size differences in these two neighboring ridges. A sensitivity analysis indicates that tides play a key role in dominating the long-term morphological evolution of the Jiangsu coast and the total erosion from the AYD. On smaller scales, the effect of revetments (built since the 1930s) on the evolution of the nearshore zone and the effect of wind waves on the erosion of offshore shoals are relatively important. The effect of a gradual coarsening process of bottom sediment along the Jiangsu coast, which may be due to continuous fine sediment removal, is identified. Fine sediment depositions in the Tiaozini ridge and in the northern offshore zone of the RSRs are relatively more sensitive to the coarsening trend of bottom sediment than other areas.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages58
JournalMarine Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Abandoned Yellow River delta
  • the Radial Sand Ridges
  • morphodynamic modeling
  • sediment source
  • wave effect
  • coarsened bottom sediment


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