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The Zaire river and estuary and the Zaire outflow in the Atlantic ocean
Eisma, D.; Van Bennekom, A.J. (1978). The Zaire river and estuary and the Zaire outflow in the Atlantic ocean. Neth. J. Sea Res. 12(3-4): 255-272
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Eisma, D., more
  • Van Bennekom, A.J., more

    A general description of the morphologic and hydrographic features of the Zaire (Congo) estuary is given together with a review of literature data on discharge of the Zaire river and tidal action. The distribution patterns of Zaire river water in the adjacent Atlantic Ocean are also reviewed. Salinity and temperature measurements, carried out in November 1976 fitted well into this picture. The low salinity plume waters have a thickness of 10m at the river mouth, gradually increasing to 30m at 700 km from the river mouth. TS diagrams show that sea water originating from about 30m depth is the principal component mixing with the outflowing river water. The flushing time of the plume waters between 0 and 30‰ S is only 2 to 3 days, very short compared to the flushing times of other large river plumes, due to the large velocity (250cm.s-1) of the fresh water flowing into the ocean. Initially the movement of the plume waters is in WNW direction, offshore these movements are spatially and seasonally correlated with the wind pattern. The temperature and salinity characteristics of the water layers below 30m depth in the Zaire canyon are qualitatively the same as those found off the continental shelf. Erosion of the characteristic features in the canyon indicates enhanced vertical mixing. The slope of the isotherms near the bottom points to an up-canyon movement of the bottom waters during our measurements.

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