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ABSTRACT: Flume Simulation of Sedimentation in Recirculating Flow

John C. Schmidt, D. M. Rubin, H. Ikeda

A 4-m-wide flume at the University of Tsukuba Environmental Research Center was used to simulate flow conditions near debris fans in bedrock gorges. Flow was constricted to 2 m by a semicircular obstruction. During our experiments (discharge = 600 L/sec; Froude number of constricted flow = 1) a zone of recirculating current extended 25-30 m downstream from the separation point at the constriction. The pattern and velocity of surface flow was determined using time-lapse photography; subsurface velocity was measured with a two-dimensional electromagnetic current meter. During 32-hr of run time, a fine, very coarse sand mixture was fed into the flow at a rate between 0.5-1 kg/sec. Oscillation ripples developed beneath the separation surface that bounds the recirculation zone and upstream-migrating dunes and ripples developed within the recirculation zone upstream from the reattachment point. A mid-channel expansion bar was deposited downstream from the reattachment point. Sedimentation within the recirculation zone continued by vertical aggradation and by upstream migration of dunes and ripples. Sediments within the recirculation zone were areally sorted with the finest sediment deposited near the separation point. These patterns are consistent with field observations of bars along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990