Wave-current interactions on a shallow reef (Nicaragua, Central America)

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Measurements of wave height and currents associated with normal trade-wind conditions have been made on a linear reef that parallels the northern and northeastern coast of Great Corn Island, eastern shelf of Nicaragua, Central America. Analyses indicate that waves breaking over the reef crest generate lagoonward flow normal to the reef. Average reef-normal flow was in the range of 10 to 20 cm/s; however, individual wave surges reached values of up to 180 cm/s. The strength of the over-the-reef flow is modulated by the tide. Lagoon currents are weak (2-5 cm/s) and change direction with the tide as the lagoon fills and drains. Long-period oscillations in water level (30 s to 20 min) and in the current were observed, and may be important in transporting fine-grained sediments out of the reef-lagoon system. Strong, short-duration surge currents ( <5 s) transport coarse sediment from the breaker zone to the seaward margin of the backreef lagoon. © 1983 Springer-Verlag.

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Coral Reefs

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