Frontiers of Earth Science

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 35–45 | Cite as

Numerical research on evolvement of submarine sand waves in the Northern South China Sea

  • Qikun Zhou
  • Guanghai Hu
  • Yongfu SunEmail author
  • Xiaohui Liu
  • Yupeng Song
  • Lifeng Dong
  • Changming Dong
Research Article


Submarine sand waves, vital to seabed stability, are an important consideration for oceanic engineering projects such as oil pipe lines and submarine cables. The properties of surface sediment and the evolvement of submarine sand waves in a specified area in the South China Sea are studied using both a hydrological model and field observational data. The bottom flow field data between 2010 and 2011 in the study area are simulated by the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS). The migration of submarine sand waves is calculated using Rubin’s formula along with typhoon data and bottom flow field data, which allows for the analysis of sand wave response under the influence of typhoons. The migration direction calculated by Rubin’s formula and bottom flow are very similar to collected data. The migration distance of different positions is between 0.0 m and 21.8 m, which reciprocates cumulatively. This shows that Rubin’s formula can predict the progress of submarine sand waves with the bottom flow simulated by ROMS. The migration distances of 2 sites in the study area are 2.0 m and 2.9 m during the typhoon “Fanapi”. The proportion of the calculated migration distance by the typhoon is 9.17% and 26.36% of the annual migration distance, respectively, which proves that the typhoon can make a significant impact on submarine sand waves.


submarine sand waves migration ROMS Rubin’s formula typhoon 


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This study is supported by the Marine Public Welfare Industry Program of State Oceanic Administration (Grant No. 201005005). Yan LI from the First Institute of Oceanography, SOA, is appreciated for her work on partial calculations. Dr. Yu LIU, School of Marine Sciences, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, is appreciated for his valuable help in coordinating the running of ROMS. Thanks to Philipp Wu from the University of California, Berkeley for his help in proofreading the manuscript. CD appreciates the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41476022, 41490643, and 91128204), Startup Foundation for Introducing Talent of Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology (2013r121 and 2014r072), Program for Innovation Research and Entrepreneurship team in Jiangsu Province, National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2014CB745000), and National Programme on Global Change and Air-Sea Interaction (No. GASI- 03-IPOVAI-05).


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qikun Zhou
    • 1
  • Guanghai Hu
    • 1
  • Yongfu Sun
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiaohui Liu
    • 2
  • Yupeng Song
    • 1
  • Lifeng Dong
    • 1
  • Changming Dong
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.First Institute of OceanographySOAQingdaoChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of OceanographySOAHangzhouChina
  3. 3.School of Marine SciencesNanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingChina
  4. 4.Institute of Geophysics and Planetary PhysicsUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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