Sediment Resuspension in Gulf of Martaban, Myanmar – November 30th, 201116.3N 96.7E
Sediments from the Salween Sittaung and Yangon rivers empty into the Gulf of Martaban, an arm of the Andaman Sea in the southern part of Myanmar. The gulf is shallow and subject to extreme tides.
According to Ramasamy and Rao of the National Institute of Oceanography, studies of the sediment texture, depth of the water, etc., indicate that the sea floor in the Gulf of Martaban, the surrounding coastal areas and estuaries are covered with silty clays and subject to constant settling and resuspension due to tidal forces. The shallowness (less than 30 meters deep) of the gulf allows the tidal currents mix the waters and bring the resuspended material to the surface.
Beyond a depth of 30 m, the situation changes drastically. The gradient of the sea floor increases sharply and because of deeper waters the tidal forces are unable to resuspend and bring the sediments to the surface. Also, tidal forces become weak with increasing distance from the shore. This may account for the sudden change in color from brown sediments to dark blue ocean water in the image, rather than the sediments gradually dispersing out into the Andaman Sea.