Cohesive sediments & Muddy systems
Cohesive sediment, or mud, is a mixture of clay particles, silt, (fine) sand, organic material, and water. It preferentially settles in low-energy environments such as sheltered coastlines, estuaries and harbors. Mud deposits give rise to highly bio-diverse, and therefore ecologically valuable systems such as mud flats, mangroves and salt marshes. These ecosystems are not only ecologically important, but also play a role in coastal defenses. At the same time, sedimentation in navigation channels and harbors is an obvious unfavorable aspect. Suspended mud particles influence the water quality reducing light in the water column, leading to reduced photosynthesis or primary production. In extreme cases, high mud suspensions may influence vertical mixing rates, resulting in anoxic conditions and thereby high mortality rates. Toxic contaminant may adhere to mud particles, influencing the fate and residence time of particles.
Delft3D provides a mathematical framework to study all these effects. Computational modules have been implemented to simulate the transport and fate of mud at low and high concentrations, in the form of fluid mud or turbidity currents, or as mixtures with fine sand. An extensive set of post-processing tools allows for analysis of the computational results.
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