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Spreading Law for Sediment-Laden Gravity Currents

Author(s): Sung-Uk Choi

Linked Author(s): Sung-Uk Choi

Keywords: Spreading law; Density current; Gravity current; Turbidity current; Two-dimensional spreading

Abstract: In continental margins, turbid underflows which are not confined to a given channel, are free to spread laterally as well as longitudinally. Lateral spreading can reduce substantially the run out distance of flows along continental shelves and slopes. Laboratory experiments with a large tank, employing saline density currents as surrogates for fine-grained turbidity flows, coupled with dimensional analysis, have been used to develop a simple expression for lateral spreading rates of twodimensional flows on sloping beds. Characteristic length and time scales are determined by the volume flux and buoyancy flux at the inlet. By knowing the initial width of the flow, the spreading law can be used to estimate the maximum width of the current at different times as well as the longitudinal spreading rate. Predictions for flows compare favorably against observations.


Year: 1999

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