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Sedimentological Regimes for Subaqueous Turbidity Currents

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Subaqueous turbidity currents may be the dominant mechanism by which sediments are moved from continents into the deep ocean; these flows are critical in the formation of submarine canyons and corresponding submarine fans. In 1986 Parker, Fukushima, and Pantin introduced a depth-averaged mechanical model for these currents, intending to identify the circumstances under which the erosion of underlying material by a turbidity current could lead to an “auto-igniting” sustainable flow. We use a simplified version of their model to map a global regime diagram for these flows as a function of the Richardson and Rouse numbers of the flows; in different segments of this diagram the flows are predominantly depositional, erosional, or bypass in nature.

This talk is part of the Seminars for the Institute for Energy and Environmental Flows (formerly BP Institute) series.

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