Abstract

Turbidity currents meeting obstacles, for example, the margins of a confined basin, are subject to reflection. The consequent change in flow direction is expressed in the sequence of depositional structures of the resulting bed of sediment. Putative examples of orthogonal reflection have been described, based on 180° opposed current directions. We present field evidence for the more general case of oblique reflection of turbidites, and we report the results of flume experiments indicating a mechanism involving generation of internal solitary waves at an oblique ramp. These propagate normal to the ramp, regardless of the angle of incidence. Flow directions in reflected turbidites may indicate the orientation of reflecting surfaces, such as basin margin slopes, and thus may be of considerable help in paleogeographic and tectonic reconstructions.

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