Vertically Mixed Estuary

salt-wedge | fjord | slightly stratified | vertically mixed | freshwater

A vertically-mixed or well-mixed estuary occurs when river flow is low and tidally generated currents are moderate to strong (Ross, 1995). The salinity of water in a vertically-mixed estuaries is the same from waters surface to the bottom of the estuary. Strong tidal currents eliminate the vertical layering of freshwater floating above denser seawater, and salinity is determined by the daily tidal stage. The estuaries salinity is highest nearest the ocean and decreases as one moves up the river. This type of water circulation might be found in large, shallow estuaries, such as Delaware Bay.

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