EGU2020-12139, updated on 15 Jun 2021
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Sill Processes in the Saguenay Fjord

Jérôme Guay1, Daniel Bourgault1, Cynthia Bluteau1, Cédric Chavanne1, Peter Galbraith2, and Louis Gostiaux3
Jérôme Guay et al.
  • 1Université du Québec à Rimouksi, Institut des Sciences de la Mer, Rimouski, Canada
  • 2Maurice Lamontagne Institute, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Mont-Joli, Canada
  • 3Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics Laboratory, École Centrale de Lyon, Lyon, France

The Saguenay Fjord is a 110 km long and 250 m deep (max depth) multi-silled glacial valley that connects the Saguenay River at its head with the St. Lawrence Estuary at its mouth. The bathymetry is characterized with 3 sills: a shallow 20-m deep sill at the mouth, an intermediate 60-m deep 20 km landward sill and a deep 120-m sill 35 km landward. These sills separate 3 basins, the outer, the intermediate and the inner basins. The circulation in the fjord is forced by the Saguenay River at its head that brings freshwater, large tides (up to 6 m range) at its mouth that brings salt water and by wind. The large-scale circulation has been characterized by three seasonally dependent regimes during which the deep, intermediate and subsurface waters of the inner basin are being renewed, respectively, during early winter, summer and late winter. There are indirect indications that those regimes are determined by turbulent processes occurring locally at each of these three sills. Here, we carried out a field experiment to more directly investigate the detailed dynamics of tidally-driven sill processes and water mass modifications occurring across these three sills. Our measurements provide to date the most accurate and complete description of the stratified tidal flow structures around these sills. We also found that an internal hydraulic jump seems to form every ebb tide on the seaward side of the intermediate sill but not during flood tide on the landward side. Research is ongoing to better understand this asymmetry but our hypothesis is that it is the presence of a salty pool landward of the sill that prevents the formation of a hydraulic jump, a process that may be similar to that documented in Knight Inlet (British Columbia, Canada).

How to cite: Guay, J., Bourgault, D., Bluteau, C., Chavanne, C., Galbraith, P., and Gostiaux, L.: Sill Processes in the Saguenay Fjord, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12139,, 2020.


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