Subaqueous sediment transport is widely believed to be mainly supported by flow turbulence. This research seeks to test this turbulent-suspension hypothesis by undertaking flume experiments and by quantitatively reconstructing the flow parameters that may have controlled deposition of sands in the Agadir Basin, offshore Morocco. Turbidity current flows with thicknesses of 5.0-7.0m were responsible for transport in the Agadir Basin but it is unclear whether such thin flows can generate enough turbulence suspend sand (D~300μ) during transport across 200km of almost flat sea floor.
This project uses a theoretical model of flow-speed, associated turbulence and grain suspension. This is based upon widely used models of turbulent flow and turbulent suspension but the project will first validate these models, using flume experiments and, where necessary, modify them. The validated/modified models will then be used to assess the viability of turbulent suspension in the Agadir Basin.
Experiments will be undertaken in the Sorby Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Leeds University.