Origin of rippled scour depressions associated with cohesive sediments in a shoreface setting (eastern Bay of Seine, France)
Side-scan sonar investigations in the eastern part of the macrotidal Bay of Seine have revealed the presence of numerous rippled scour depressions (RSDs) at water depths of 5–9 m. The sediments in these depressions consist essentially of coarse-grained shell hash derived from underlying Holocene sediments dated at roughly 6,500 years BP, and arranged in large wave-generated ripples. The shallow marine area where these features occur consists of a wave-generated ravinement surface produced during the marine flooding of the late Holocene transgression. It can be shown that, during the last 20 years at least, erosion of the muddy sand and sandy seabed has exposed underlying relict sediments. These consist of stiff clays, silts and a layer of shell debris which, when exposed, cover the bottom of large scour depressions which appear to be in equilibrium with the local hydrodynamic regime. Morphological and hydrodynamic data suggest that the RSDs are generated by strong cross-shore bottom currents flowing parallel to the features in the direction of the prevailing waves, and probably associated with storm-induced downwelling events.