EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Sand Wave Migration and its Factors on Giant Sand Ridge in Taiwan Strait

Yin-Hsuan Liao1, Ho-Han Hsu1,2, Jyun-Nai Wu3, Tzu-Ting Chen1, Eason Yi-Cheng Yang2, Arif Mirza2, and Char-Shine Liu2
Yin-Hsuan Liao et al.
  • 1Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan (
  • 2Ocean Center, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 3Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA, United States

        Submarine sand waves are known to be induced by tidal currents and their migration has become an important issue since it may affect seafloor installations. In Taiwan Strait, widely spreading sand waves have been recognized on the Changyun Ridge, a tide-dominated giant sand ridge offshore western Taiwan. However, due to lacking of high-resolution and repeated geophysical surveys before, detailed characteristics and migrating features of the sand waves in Taiwan Strait were poorly understood. As new multibeam bathymetric and seismic data were collected repeatedly during 2016 - 2018 for offshore wind farm projects, we can now advance the understanding of sand wave characteristics and migration patterns in the study area. We apply a geostatistical analysis method on bathymetry data to reveal distribution and spatial characteristics of the sand waves, and estimate its migration pattern by using an updated spatial cross-correlation method. Then, sedimentary features, internal structures and thicknesses of sand waves are observed and estimated on high-resolution seismic profiles. Our results show that the study area is mostly superimposed by multi-scaled sandy rhythmic bed forms. However, the geomorphological and migrating characteristics of the sand waves are complicated. Their wavelengths range from 80 to 200 m, heights range from 1.5 to 8 m, and crests are generally oriented in the WNW-ESE direction. Obvious sand wave migration was detected from repeated high-resolution multi-beam data between 2016 and 2018, and migration distances can be up to ~150 m in 15 months. The average elevation change of the seafloor over the whole survey area is ~3.0 m, with a maximum value of 6.9 m. Moreover, the sand waves can migrate over 30 m with ~2.5 m elevation change in 2 months and migrate over 5 m with ~1 m elevation change in 15 days. The results also show that the orientation of wave movement can be reversed even within a small distance. By identifying the base of sand wave on seismic profiles, the thicknesses of sand waves are found ranging from 1 to 10 meters. The base of wave structure become slightly deeper from nearshore to offshore. Our results indicate that the thickness of sand waves increases with degree of asymmetry and migration rate. By bathymetric and reflection seismic data analyses, systematic spatial information of sand waves in the study area are established, and we suggest that not only tidal currents can affect sand wave migration patterns, but also wave structures and thicknesses play important roles in sand wave migrating processes and related geomorphological changes.

How to cite: Liao, Y.-H., Hsu, H.-H., Wu, J.-N., Chen, T.-T., Yang, E. Y.-C., Mirza, A., and Liu, C.-S.: Sand Wave Migration and its Factors on Giant Sand Ridge in Taiwan Strait, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-8258,, 2020

This abstract will not be presented.