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Geomorphology and sedimentary/biosedimentary structures of the intertidal environment along the coast of Kuwait, north-western Arabian Gulf

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Abstract

The coast of Kuwait can be divided into nine intertidal geomorphological subunits, of which four are found along the northern muddy shoreline and five along the southern sandy shoreline. In the north the coast is characterized by wide intertidal mudflats, bounded landward by an extensive coastal sabkha which is partly covered by sand drifts. The upper part of the intertidal environment is covered with a mixture of aeolian sands and muddy sediments of marine origin. A number of shallow tidal channels dissect the intertidal flats and small sand bars occur near the low water line. In contrast, the southern shore is characterized by relatively steep sandy beaches fronted by narrow to moderately wide rocky intertidal platforms which are partly covered by sand, bioherms, skeletal debris and algal mats. In some areas the rocky surface is dissected by numerous small gulleys and shallow channels. Multiple sand bars lying either parallel or diagonal to the shoreline are developed near the low water line. This southern intertidal environment is bounded landward by a sandy berm and a wave-cut cliff.

Ripple marks are developed almost parallel to the shoreline, showing different flow directions. Energy levels are moderate to high along the southern shore, but low along the northern shore. In the south, waves induced by winds blowing mostly from the north-east and south-east form the dominant energy source, whereas tidal and wind-driven currents are the only tangible process acting along the northern shore.

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El-Sayed, M.I., Al-Bakri, D. Geomorphology and sedimentary/biosedimentary structures of the intertidal environment along the coast of Kuwait, north-western Arabian Gulf. Geol Rundsch 83, 448–463 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00210557

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Key words

  • Intertidal zone
  • Kuwait
  • Geomorphology Structures
  • Environmental significance