Journal of Geographical Sciences

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 146–160 | Cite as

Threshold sediment flux for the formation of river deltas in Hainan Island, southern China

  • Gaocong Li
  • Liang Zhou
  • Yali Qi
  • Shu Gao


The knowledge of geomorphological evolution from an estuary to a river delta is necessary to form the formulation of comprehensive land-ocean interaction management strategies. In this study, the dominant factor controlling the geomorphological variability and the threshold sediment flux (TSF) to form a river delta in Hainan Island, southern China, including accommodation space, sediment supply, and reworking forces, was investigated by the method of big data analytics. The results indicated the 25 estuaries in consideration can be divided into three geographical groups, i.e. the multi-factors-controlled northern mixed estuaries, wave-dominated western estuaries with river deltas, and typhoon-dominated eastern coastal lagoon estuaries. For alluvial plain (AP) estuaries, the order of magnitude of TSFs is the smallest (101 kt·yr–1), for barrier-lagoon (BL) ones is the highest (> 102 kt·yr–1), and for drowned valley (DV) ones is moderate (102 kt·yr–1). The river deltas associated with DV systems should be relatively large, and those related to BLs should be small, with the AP deltas being between the above mentioned types. The present study provides a technique to evaluate the role played by TSF for the formation of river deltas in micro-tidal and wave-dominated and typhoon-influenced coastal environments.


estuarine geomorphology dominant factor typhoon processes threshold sediment flux river delta Hainan Island 


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Copyright information

© Science in China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea StudiesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory for Estuarine and Coastal ResearchEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.College of Electronics and Information EngineeringGuangdong Ocean UniversityZhanjiang, GuangdongChina

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