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TIDAL FLAT DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEM

Tide dominated shallow seas are common in many parts of the world.
The tide dominated sedimentation can be identified into three distinct
domains
Tidal flats
Tidal shoals
Tidal current ridges
Tides cause periodic rise and fall of the water level, which may be
semidiurnal (2 tides a day) or diurnal (1 tide a day). Tides are
identified into spring-neap cycles.
Tidal range increases in the embayments and bays (10-15m). However,
in open sea tidal range is small (about 50cm).

Tidal flat deposits

Tidal flats are gentle sloping sea coast with marked tidal rhythm and
low wave energy. They occur with estuaries, bays, back barrier;
sometimes on open sea.
Tidal flats are identified into supratidal, intertidal and subtidal
zones. On the intertidal zone highly meandering channels are
common.
Velocity on the tidal flats is usually 30-50cm/s, in the tidal channels
it is 1-1.5m/s.
Supratidal zone is developed as salt marsh.
Intertidal zone shows mud near HWL (mud flat), followed by mixed
flat, and sand near LWL (sand flat).

Supratidal zone show deposition of rooted mud with crinkled


lamination.
Mud flat is made up of mud layers with millimeter thin sand layers;
mixed flat exhibits lenticular-flaser bedding, tidal bedding; sand flat
shows small ripple bedding, flaser bedding, horizontal bedding.
The tidal creeks of intertidal zone show longitudinal cross-bedding
(Epsilon cross-stratification).
Subtidal zone shows large-scale cross-bedding and coarse-grained
sediments.
Tidal flat deposits are characterized by numerous erosional contacts,
abrupt vertical and horizontal changes in bedding structures, rarity of
macrosequences.

Tidal shoals
The shallow shelf of tidal sea shows development of large sandy
areas as sandy shoals and channels.
Tidal shoals are formed mainly by tidal currents with subordinate role
of waves. The shoals extend from subtidal zone to intertidal zone.
They show prominent development of large bed forms.
The tidal shoal-channel complex produce several meter thick sand
deposits showing large-scale cross-bedding in lower part; small
ripple bedding and laminated sand in the upper part.

Tidal features in shoal deposits


Tidal shoals and subtidal channels exhibit few distinctive features in the
cross bedding.
Tidal bundles
A tidal bundle is a set of cross strata, laterally enclosed by pause planes.
Three distinct parts are, reactivation structures, full vortex structures and
slackening structures. It is followed by subordinate tide structures, which
may include double mud drape.

Neap-spring tide cycle


In a cross-stratified unit tidal bundles show increase in height and angle
of foresets during neap to spring; and gradual decrease in height and
angle of foresets during spring to neap. 29 tidal bundles can be identified
in a neap-spring-neap cycle.

Tidal Current Ridges

In tide-dominated continental shelves, with the availability of sand


linear ridges parallel to current direction are present.
These ridges occur in groups, having length of tens of kilometers,
width few kilometers and height tens of meters. Large bedforms move
over the tidal ridges.
Tidal ridges show large-scale cross bedding with some mud layers.
They may represent transgressive sand deposits of a tide dominated
shelf.

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