ABSTRACT

Dropstones in lacustrine and marine sediments show a wide range of sizes: from less than a millimeter to many meters. Their size and shape determine the velocity and the acceleration when they settle through the water column, and this, in turn, determines in principle the imprint that they make in the bottom sediment. Although these parameters are crucial for dropstone deposition, the unknown material (sediment) properties (like strength, porosity, pore-water content, viscosity, etc.) of the bottom sediment play a just as important role in this process as the water depth, which can physically be understood as the length of the pathway traveled vertically through a dense medium before the impact. Reconstruction of the principal environmental conditions at the time of dropstone fall and deposition consequently requires considering the variety of factors affecting the final imprint depth of a dropstone, the combination of several numerical methods.

Here, we show the results of numerical modeling of dropstones with different sizes that settle through water columns with different depths. Our results show how environmental factors control the deformation structures formed at the sedimentary surface during the impact of a dropstone, and how deep the imprint caused by the settling dropstone will be.

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