Abstract

The influence of near-bed sorting processes on heavy mineral content in suspension is discussed. Sediment concentrations above a rippled bed of mixed quartz and heavy mineral sand were measured under regular nonbreaking waves in the laboratory. Using the traditional gradient diffusion process, settling velocity would be expected to strongly affect sediment distribution. This was not observed during present trials. In fact, the vertical gradients of time-averaged suspension concentrations were found to be similar for the light and heavy minerals, despite their different settling velocities. This behavior implies a convective rather than diffusive distribution mechanism. Between the nonmoving bed and the lowest suspension sampling point, light and heavy mineral concentration differs by two orders of magnitude. This discrimination against the heavy minerals in the pickup process is due largely to selective entrainment at the ripple face. Bedform dynamics and the nature of quartz suspension profiles are found to be little affected by the trialed proportion of overall heavy minerals in the bed (3.8-22.1%).

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