LATITUDINAL CONTROLS ON STRATIGRAPHIC MODELS AND SEDIMENTARY CONCEPTS
LATITUDINAL CHANGES IN THE MORPHOLOGY OF SUBMARINE CHANNELS: REEVALUATING THE EVIDENCE FOR THE INFLUENCE OF THE CORIOLIS FORCE
Published:January 01, 2019
ZOLTÁN SYLVESTER, CARLOS PIRMEZ, 2019. "LATITUDINAL CHANGES IN THE MORPHOLOGY OF SUBMARINE CHANNELS: REEVALUATING THE EVIDENCE FOR THE INFLUENCE OF THE CORIOLIS FORCE", LATITUDINAL CONTROLS ON STRATIGRAPHIC MODELS AND SEDIMENTARY CONCEPTS, CARMEN M. FRATICELLI, PAUL J. MARKWICK, ALLARD W. MARTINIUS, JOHN R. SUTER
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Using a script that automatically calculates sinuosity and radius of curvature for multiple bends on sinuous channel centerlines, we have assembled a new data set that allows us to reevaluate the relationship between latitude and submarine channel sinuosity. Sinuosity measurements on hundreds of channel bends from nine modern systems suggest that there is no statistically significant relationship between latitudinal position and channel sinuosity. In addition, for the vast majority of submarine channels on Earth, using flow velocities that are needed to transport the coarse-grained sediment found in channel thalwegs, estimates of the curvature-based Rossby number are significantly larger than unity. In contrast, low flow velocities that characterize the upper parts of turbidity currents in submarine channels located at high latitudes can easily result in Rossby numbers of less than one; this is the reason why levee deposits are often highly asymmetric in such channels. However, even in channels with asymmetric levees, the sinuosity of the thalweg is often obvious and must have developed as the result of an instability driven by the centrifugal force. Analysis of a simple centerline-evolution model shows that the increase in channel curvature precedes the increase in sinuosity and that low sinuosities are already associated with large curvatures. This suggests that the Coriolis effect is unlikely to be responsible for the low sinuosities observed in certain systems.