Environmental Protection Agency Narragansett Bay Commission University of Rhode Island Office of Marine Programs

Estuarine Science

Coastal Plain Estuary

Narragansett Bay Chesapeake Bay

Coastal plain estuaries were formed at the end of the last ice age. As the ice melted and the waters warmed, sea level rose. The rising seas invaded low-lying coastal river valleys. These valleys are usually shallow with gentle sloping bottoms. Their depth increases toward the river's mouth. This type of estuary is common throughout the world. Examples include Narragansett Bay (RI), Chesapeake Bay (MD), Delaware Bay (DE), Thames River (England), Ems River (Germany), Seine River (France), Si-Kiang River (Hong Kong), and Murray River (Australia).



Go to:   Coastal plain estuaries ~ Tectonic estuaries
Bar-built estuaries ~ Fjords

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