Abstract

Flume experiments have shown that muds can be transported in bedload as floccule ripples and deposited at current velocities that would suffice to transport and deposit sand. A new set of experiments provides firsthand observations of the processes that shape and propagate mud ripples. Sediment is transported over the stoss side in the form of diverging boundary-layer streaks, the carriers of the bulk of the bedload floccule freight. At the brinkline these streaks become point sources of sediment that feeds avalanches of floccule-rich sediment lobes. These propagate down the slip face like classic mudflows on a hillside. Geometries of ripples are very similar to those produced in sandy sediments, even though the floccule ripples contain as much as 90 vol% water.

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