Characteristics of morphodynamic conditions in the shallows of Puck Bay (southern Baltic Sea)

Ewa Szymczak, Maria Rucińska

Paper category: Original research paper
Corresponding author: Ewa Szymczak (
DOI: 10.1515/ohs-2021-0019
Received: 10/09/2020
Accepted: 13/11/2020
Full text: here

Citation: Szymczak,E. & Rucińska,M.(2021).Characteristics of morphodynamic conditions in the shallows of Puck Bay (southern Baltic Sea). Oceanological and Hydrobiological Studies,50(2) 220-231.


Puck Bay is an unusual and thus interesting coastal water region, as it combines two different environments – a lagoon and the sea. They differ from each other in their seabed morphology, salinity, dynamics and water exchange. Their common elements are the extensive shallows and the vicinity of the Hel Peninsula. The shallows of Puck Bay have developed at various stages of its evolution, which began several thousand years ago and continues to this day. They have been shaped by varying morphogenetic factors resulting from changes in sea level and accompanying evolution phases of sand barriers, e.g. washover fans, as well as the intensity and directions of sediment transport. At present, the shallows cover more than 35% of the seabed area and are influenced by hydrodynamic factors and availability of sediments. The study area was divided into five fields, taking into account morphological and genetic criteria as well as recent hydrodynamic conditions. This study provides an updated map with classification and distribution of surface sediments and describes grain size parameters for sediment samples collected in the selected fields. Based on a comprehensive assessment of grain size parameters, lithodynamic equilibrium zones were determined and areas of sediment deposition and redeposition were identified.


The least diversified grain size distribution parameters were determined for the coastal shoals stretching along the bay-facing shores of the Hel Peninsula and the shallows located in the inner part of Puck Bay. Despite different hydrodynamic conditions, the seabed configuration differs only in the nature of sediment deposition, indicating slightly higher dynamics in the outer part. Wave processes have the greatest impact on the movement of sediments in the Long and Bórzyńska shoals, with the rarely occurring wind from the southern sector. Due to lagoonal conditions, the shoals in the northern part of the Puck Lagoon are exposed to wave processes to a limited extent. The preserved similarity of the lithological characteristics of sediments building this part of the study area (II, III and northern part IV) results primarily from the genesis of the forms and origin (source) of the material related to the development and evolution of the Hel Peninsula.
The largest differences in the grain size distribution parameters were determined for the southern part of the Seagull Sandbar, the Rewa Cape and the Reda Delta. These forms have been shaped by wave processes and available sediments originating from coastal abrasion and fluvial supplies. The mechanism of sediment differentiation clearly indicates zones with higher dynamics, not conducive to the accumulation of fine-grained sediments, resulting in the shift of particle-size distributions toward coarser fractions. Water exchange through the Głębinka Passage plays an important role in the sediment transport. The Reda Delta receives continuous supplies of bedload, which is distributed in the underwater part of the delta and is carried along with water currents to the Outer Puck Bay.
The research has shown that the sediments in most sections of the shallows of Puck Bay are not subject to transformations and are in the lithodynamic equilibrium.


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