The possible role of Coriolis forces in structuring large-scale sinuous patterns of submarine channel-levee systems

Wells, Mathew and Cossu, Remo (2013) The possible role of Coriolis forces in structuring large-scale sinuous patterns of submarine channel-levee systems. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 371 2004: . doi:10.1098/rsta.2012.0366


Author Wells, Mathew
Cossu, Remo
Title The possible role of Coriolis forces in structuring large-scale sinuous patterns of submarine channel-levee systems
Journal name Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1364-503X
1471-2962
Publication date 2013-12-13
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1098/rsta.2012.0366
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 371
Issue 2004
Total pages 19
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Submarine channel-levee systems are among the largest sedimentary structures on the ocean floor. These channels have a sinuous pattern and are the main conduits for turbidity currents to transport sediment to the deep ocean. Recent observations have shown that their sinuosity decreases strongly with latitude, with high-latitude channels being much straighter than similar channels near the Equator. One possible explanation is that Coriolis forces laterally deflect turbidity currents so that at high Northern latitudes both the density interface and the downstream velocity maximum are deflected to the right-hand side of the channel (looking downstream). The shift in the velocity field can change the locations of erosion and deposition and introduce an asymmetry between left- and right-turning bends. The importance of Coriolis forces is defined by two Rossby numbers, RoW =U/Wf and RoR =U/Rf, where U is the mean downstream velocity, W is the width of the channel, R is the radius of curvature and f is the Coriolis parameter. In a bending channel, the density interface is flat when RoR ∼-1, and Coriolis forces start to shift the velocity maximum when |RoW|<5. We review recent experimental and field observations and describe how Coriolis forces could lead to straighter channels at high latitudes.
Keyword Gravity currents
Coriolis forces
Turbidity currents
Erosion and deposition
Channel-levee systems
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: School of Civil Engineering Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 18 Feb 2016, 21:16:59 EST by Jeannette Watson on behalf of School of Civil Engineering