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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Journal of Sedimentary Research (SEPM)


Journal of Sedimentary Research
Vol. 89 (2019), No. 11. (November), Pages 1127-1139
DOI: 10.2110/jsr.2019.62

Dynamics and deposition of sediment-bearing multi-pulsed flows and geological implication

Viet Luan Ho, Robert M. Dorrell, Gareth M. Keevil, Robert E. Thomas, Alan D. Burns, Jaco H. Baas, William D. McCaffrey


Previous studies on dilute, multi-pulsed, subaqueous saline flows have demonstrated that pulses will inevitably advect forwards to merge with the flow front. On the assumption that pulse merging occurs in natural-scale turbidity currents, it was suggested that multi-pulsed turbidites that display vertical cycles of coarsening and fining would transition laterally to single-pulsed, normally graded turbidites beyond the point of pulse merging. In this study, experiments of dilute, single- and multi-pulsed sediment-bearing flows (turbidity currents) are conducted to test the linkages between downstream flow evolution and associated deposit structure. Experimental data confirm that pulse merging occurs in laboratory-scale turbidity currents. However, only a weak correspondence was seen between longitudinal variations in the internal flow dynamics and the vertical structure of deposits; multi-pulsed deposits were documented, but transitioned to single-pulsed deposits before the pulse merging point. This early transition is attributed to rapid sedimentation-related depletion of the coarser-grained suspended fraction in the laboratory setting, whose absence may have prevented the distal development of multi-pulsed deposits; this factor complicates estimation of the transition point in natural-scale turbidite systems.

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