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Turbidity Maximum (Biogeochemical Feature)

Component: Biogeochemical Feature

Unique Identifier: 1354

Biogeochemical Feature Turbidity Maximum

Definition Region in an estuary where turbidity is high, due to concentration of particulates in the water column. This occurs as a result of the increasing ionic strength of the water from the introduction of salt in the downstream direction (generally at around areas with a salinity of 5), which causes particle aggregation. This process is enhanced by the mixing regime particular to this upper estuary region, in which countercurrent flows from the salt wedge are entrained into the seaward-flowing, upper-water layer. As particles settle out of the upper layer, they are carried upstream in the lower layer and so circulate within a zone of maximum turbidity.