STUDY OF MORPHODYNAMIC AND SEDIMENTOLOGICAL CHANGES IN THE OUALIDIA LAGOON (MOROCCO) USING BATHYMETRIC DATA: FIRST INVESTIGATIONS AFTER THE SEDIMENT TRAP DREDGING
Keywords: GIS, bathymetry, dynamics, sediments, Oualidia lagoon, Morocco
Abstract. Coastal lagoons are highly dynamic and physically complicated systems. They are environmentally productive and socio-economically valuable. Contemporary global development and management pressures require a better understanding of their dynamics and sustainability. The present study focuses on the problem of water confinement in the Oualidia lagoon (Atlantic coast of Morocco). This lagoon is characterized by an asymmetric tidal propagation, with a shorter duration of the flood (rising tide) than the ebb (falling tide). In the long term, this contributes to the reduction of depths and the confinement of water upstream. After extensive studies, a sediment trap was created in 2011 to trap the finest sediment in the upstream part of the lagoon. This study aims to analyze the morphodynamical and sedimentological changes in the lagoon of Oualidia, after the sediment trap dredging. For this purpose, bathymetric surveys covering 6 years between 2006 and 2012 were analyzed, providing sufficient data to identify the morphological changes that the lagoon has undergone during this period. The data analysis was followed by a study of the lagoon bed dynamics using profile lines extracted from the bathymetric data in a GIS environment. As a result, the findings partly show that over 6 years, an average height of +0.65 m was gained by the lagoon, while the average change in the eroded areas was estimated to be −0.42 m. In addition, the eroded area in the lagoon was estimated to be about 1,513,800 m2 with an erosion volume of 633,383 m3, while the accumulated area found was about 2,699,396 m2 with an accumulation volume of 1,765,866 m3. These changes can be related to the large input of marine sediment, mainly caused by tidal currents and waves, but also to the creation of a sediment trap in the upstream area of the lagoon.