Effects on the construction of an artificial channel between the bay of La Paz and Ensenada de La Paz

Ángel R. Jiménez-Illescas, Miguel A. Alatorre-Mendieta, Maclovio Obeso-Nieblas, Bernardo Shirasago-Germán, Héctor García-Escobar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ensenada de La Paz is a coastal lagoon located 200 km off the tip of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. The lagoon is connected to the bay of La Paz trough a natural channel and separated from it by a 13-km sandy barrier called "El Mogote". The lagoon has an area of 45 km2and an average depth of 3 m, with shallow areas and channels more than 7 m deep. Tides are the main force in this lagoon, with a range of up to 1.5 m, but winds also affect lagoon dynamics. The invariability of the natural inlet position and depth throughout time is remarkable, in spite of the impact of strong natural phenomena, such as hurricanes. The purpose of this study is based on the interest of some development enterprises in the construction of a second inlet in the narrowest part of the sandy barrier "El Mogote", with the main objective of improving boat traffic. To this end, a barotropic, vertically integrated, explicit, numerical model was used, applying finite differences to simulate the effects of opening such an artificial channel. The model predicted currents of more than 1.80 m/s in the artificial inlet, originating the widening of this entrance due to the type of sand. This study also showed changes in the general circulation of the lagoon as a consequence of the new inlet opening, affecting the natural inlet by a slow reduction of its mouth.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages39
JournalIngenieria Hidraulica en Mexico
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

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