Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 10, pp 1510–1522 | Cite as

Human-induced changes in recent sedimentation rates in Bohai Bay, China: Implications for coastal development

  • Fu WangEmail author
  • Lizhu Tian
  • Xingyu Jiang
  • William Marshall
  • Hong Wang
Research Paper


In many countries, coastal planners strive to balance the demands between civil, commercial strategy and environmental conversation interests for future development, particularly given the sea level rise in the 21st century. Achieving a sustainable balance is often a dilemma, especially in low-lying coastal areas where dams in inland river basin are trapping significant amounts of fluvial sediments. We recently investigated the shore of Bohai Bay in northern China where there has been a severe increase in sea level following a program of large-scale coastal reclamation and infrastructure development over the last five decades. To investigate this trend, we obtained sediment cores from near-shore in Bohai Bay, which were dated by 137Cs and 210Pb radionuclides to determine the sedimentation rates for the last 50 years. The average sedimentation rates of Bohai Bay exceeded 10 mm yr−1 before 1963, which was much higher than the rate of local sea-level rise. However, our results showed an overall decreasing sedimentation rate after 1963, which was not able to compensate for the increasing relative sea-level rise in that period. In addition, our results revealed that erosion occurred after the 1980s in the shallow sea area of Bohai Bay. We suggest that this situation places the Bohai Bay coast at a greater risk of inundation and erosion within the next few decades than previously thought, especially in the large new reclamation area. This study may be a case study for many other shallow sea areas of the muddy coast if the sea level continues to rise rapidly and the sediment delivered by rivers continues to decrease.


210Pb 137Cs Sedimentation rate Reclamation Coast Tianjin 


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We thank Prof. Chen Z. Y. (East China Normal University) and anonymous reviewers, who gave many constructive suggestions. We also thank Mr. Pei Y. and Shang Z., who contributed to fieldwork and sample preparation respectively. We are also deeply indebted to Mr. Xia Weilan (Key Laboratory of Lake Sedimentation & Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Mrs. Wu Liangying (Young Sediments Dating Laboratory, Tianjin Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources), who kindly helped measure 210Pb and 137Cs activity, and Mr. Deng Shiqun (Grain Size Analyzing Laboratory of the Tianjin Center of Geological Survey), who kindly helped measure grain size. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41206069) and the China Geological Survey, CGS (Grant No. 121201006000182401).


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fu Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lizhu Tian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xingyu Jiang
    • 1
    • 2
  • William Marshall
    • 3
  • Hong Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Tianjin CenterChina Geological Survey (CGS)TianjinChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Muddy Coast Geo-EnvironmentChina Geological SurveyTianjinChina
  3. 3.Plymouth UniversityPlymouthDevonUK

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