Sediment transport and deposition during extreme sea storm events at the Salerno Bay (Tyrrhenian Sea): comparison of field data with numerical model results
- 1Istituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero, C.N.R., Calata Porta di Massa, 80 – 80133 Napoli, Italy
- 2Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Seconda Universita' di Napoli, Aversa, Italy
Abstract. Seismic stratigraphy and core litho-stratigraphy in the Salerno Bay inner shelf (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea) reveal significant storm deposition episodes over the last 1 ky. Three major events are preserved as decimetre thick silt/sand layers bounded at their base by erosional surfaces and sealed in the muddy marine sequences between 25 and 60 m of depth. Geochronology and chrono-stratigraphy on core sediment point towards a recurrence of major sea storms between 0.1 and 0.3 ky and put the last significant event in the 19th century, when no local meteorological time series is available. A modelling of extreme sea-storms with a return period of about 0.1 ky is here proposed based on historical hindcast and aims at explaining the occurrence of such unusual deep and thick sand deposits in the northern sector of the bay. Results highlight the vulnerability of the northern coast of the Salerno Bay to the south western sea storms which can drive waves up to about 8 m high and wave period of about 13 s. With these conditions an intense combined flow current is formed and might account for winnowing fine sand down to the depth of 40 m at least. The numerical model thus confirms a possible sand transport in the bottom boundary layer due to wave-current interaction and could corroborate the interpretation of the most recent sand layers, included in the cores, as being generated under extreme sea storm conditions.