The nverine supply of suspended inorganic and organic sediment, its temporal and spatial distribution and its exchange with the bay, were estimated for an urban estuary (Aarhus Harbour Estuary, Denmark) during 1983-84. The river supplies high levels of particulate matter to the estuary. Export from the estuary averages one fifth of the river introduced particulate matter resulting in the accumulation of terrigenous material in the estuary.

River discharge determines whether the high depletion of particulate matter in the upper estuary follows an exponential(flocculation) or a lineary curve (dilution). Preferential deposition of organic as opposed to inorganic matter in the upper estuary depletes the particulate matter of organic matter and associated pollutants.

The estuary is divided into three depositional zones identified on the basis of sediment activity, grain-size and organic content. A sediment budget is precented for the estuary. Good agreement is shown between the actually dredged sediment quantity and the mass to sedimentation from the budget.

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