Mud significantly modifies the shape and evolution of an estuary. By using physical experiments (in the Metronome) and numerical modelling (Delft3D), we discovered that estuaries become narrower and shorter due to mud deposition. Also, bars become higher. Together this reduces the tidal prism, so that the estuary becomes smaller. In contrast to rivers that develop cohesive floodplains, estuaries do therefore not get deeper when they narrow.
This video is part of the collection of videos made for the Bruningslecture of Utrecht University (bruningslecture.nl/). The Metronome is an experimental facility at Utrecht University (uu.nl/metronome).