Sediment supply and transport directions in the Gulf of Gdańsk as observed from SEM analysis of quartz grain surface textures

Sandra Passchier, Szymon Uścinowicz, Cees Laban

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12 Scopus citations


Quartz grains were examined under a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to determine the geographic distribution of sediments from different sources in the western part of the Gulf of Gdańsk. Main source areas for sediment supply in the Gulf of Gdańsk are coastal cliffs bordering the western part of the Gulf, and the Vistula river entering the Gulf at the southern coastal border. Twelve samples of sediments from the Gulf of Gdańsk sea floor, five samples of Tertiary and Pleistocene deposits from eroded cliffs and three samples of sands from the Vistula river mouth were analyzed. All samples were sieved over 63 microns and 35 quartz grains of each sample were selected and analyzed usinga checklist of 40 grain parameters, including grain surface textures and grain shape. Frequencies of observed checklist variables were statistically analyzed and used to determine the transport history of the grains in each sample. The cliff samples and the river samples served as two end members in the analysis. The core samples were separated into different textural groups related to one of the two main source areas. The distribution of Vistula fluvial material and material eroded from cliffs in the western part of the Gulf of Gdańsk was determined. Results show that transport of sandy fraction material is not very strong within the gulf. Despite long shore currents sedimentation near the Vistula river mouth is dominated by the input of fluvial material. In the westernmost part of the gulf material eroded from the cliffs with admixtures of material of other origin predominates. It is evident that transport of sediments by waves and currents is responsible for the admixture of grains exhibiting subaqueous surface features. Sediments from several sources may have been redistributed during storms by waves and currents and on ice floes during heavy winters, however a strong local component is present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)X-21
JournalPrace - Panstwowego Instytutu Geologicznego
StatePublished - 1997


  • Baltic sea
  • Cliffs
  • Gulf of Gdańsk
  • Quartz grain surface textures
  • SEM analysis
  • Sediment sources
  • Vistula


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