Sedimentary facies of the tide-dominated paleo-Changjiang (Yangtze) estuary during the last transgression

Kazuaki Hori, Yoshiki Saito, Quanhong Zhao, Xinrong Cheng, Pinxian Wang, Yoshio Sato, Congxian Li

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209 Citations (Scopus)


A large estuary was formed by marine inundation of the paleo-Changjiang (Yangtze) incised valley during the transgression after the Last Glacial Maximum. This paper presents the sedimentary facies and architecture of the estuary fill, based on the analysis of three sediment cores (CM97, JS98, and HQ98) obtained from the present Changjiang delta plain. Estuary fill deposits showing an upward-fining succession were grouped into five depositional facies: tidal river, distributary channel, muddy intertidal to subtidal flats, transgressive lag, and estuary front, based on sedimentary textures, lithology, and physical sedimentary structures. Sand-mud couplets are common in these deposits, indicating that tides played a significant role in producing these sedimentary structures and that the estuary type was tide-dominated. Some of the successive sand-mud couplets probably recorded neap-spring cycles as well as semidiurnal tidal cycles. The nature of the estuary was very different from other representative tide-dominated estuaries in sediment facies, its distribution, and sediment source for estuarine fill. Unlike the other estuaries that receive sediments mainly from the sea, the paleo-Changjiang estuarine fill deposits were supplied largely from the river. This difference would also have a great influence on the sedimentological and morphological component in the estuary. The sediment distribution of the estuary showed fining-seaward and estuary-mouth sand bodies fed by marine-source sand were absent. The architecture model of tide-dominated estuaries should be divided into two types by the degree of fluvial sediment supply. The paleo-Changjiang estuary shows a good example for an estuary of large rivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-351
Number of pages21
JournalMarine Geology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Jul 15


  • Changjiang (Yangtze) River
  • Incised-valley fills
  • Sea-level change
  • Tidal cyclicities
  • Tide-dominated estuary


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