Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 385–397 | Cite as

A first classification scheme of flow-bed interaction for clay-laden density currents and soft substrates

  • Iris Thérèse Elise Verhagen
  • Jaco Hugo Baas
  • Ricardo Silva Jacinto
  • William Dale McCaffrey
  • Alan Geoffrey Davies
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on the 11th International Conference on Cohesive Sediment Transport


Many aquatic environments exhibit soft, muddy substrates, but this important property has largely been ignored in process-based models of Earth-surface flow. Novel laboratory experiments were carried out to shed light on the feedback processes that occur when particulate density currents (turbidity currents) move over a soft mud substrate. These experiments revealed multiple types of flow-bed interaction and large variations in bed deformation and bed erosion, which are interpreted to be related to the interplay between the shear forces of the current and the stabilising forces in the bed. Changes in this force balance were simulated by varying the clay concentrations in the flow and in the bed. Five different interaction types are described, and dimensional and non-dimensional phase diagrams for flow-bed interaction are presented.


Turbidity currents Cohesive substrates Flow-substrate interaction Flume experiments Phase diagram 



This work was carried out as part of a PhD studentship, funded through the Turbidites Research Group by Anadarko, BG Group, BHP-Billiton, BP, ConocoPhillips, Maersk Oil, Marathon Oil, Nexen, Statoil, Tullow Oil plc and Woodside. We would like to thank Johanna Illers who collected part of the UHCM data and Gareth Keevil from the University of Leeds for supplying the header tank and UHCMs. Han Winterwerp and an anonymous reviewer are thanked for their constructive comments that helped improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iris Thérèse Elise Verhagen
    • 1
  • Jaco Hugo Baas
    • 1
  • Ricardo Silva Jacinto
    • 2
  • William Dale McCaffrey
    • 3
  • Alan Geoffrey Davies
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Ocean SciencesBangor UniversityIlse of AngleseyUK
  2. 2.Ifremer, Centre de Brest, Marine Geosciences UnityPlouzanéFrance
  3. 3.School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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