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Morphological expression of bedforms formed by supercritical sediment density flows on four fjord-lake deltas of the south-eastern Canadian Shield (Eastern Canada).

Normandeau, Alexandre; Lajeunesse, Patrick; Poiré, Antoine G.; Francus, Pierre (2016). Morphological expression of bedforms formed by supercritical sediment density flows on four fjord-lake deltas of the south-eastern Canadian Shield (Eastern Canada). Sedimentology , vol. 63 , nº 7. p. 2106-2129. DOI: 10.1111/sed.12298.

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Résumé

High-resolution swath bathymetry data collected in fjord-lakes Pentecôte, Walker and Pasteur (eastern Québec, Canada) allowed imaging in great detail the deltas of four rivers in order to understand the factors controlling the formation and downslope evolution of bedforms present on their slopes. The morphometry and morphology of 199 bedforms reflect the behaviour of sediment density flows. The shape of the bedforms, mostly crescentic, and the relationships between their morphological properties indicate that they were formed by supercritical density flows and that they are cyclic steps. The crescentic shape suggests an upslope migration while the aspect ratios and increasing wavelengths with distance from the shore (and decreasing slopes) are compatible with a cyclic step origin. At the rollover point, the acceleration of the density flows on steep slopes produces tightly spaced hydraulic jumps and favours short wavelength and symmetrical bedforms. Further downslope, decreasing slopes and increasing specific discharge increase the wavelength and asymmetry of the bedforms. The wavelength and asymmetry are increased because density flows require longer distances to become supercritical again on lower slopes after each successive hydraulic jump. Bedform morphometry and morphology are used to reconstruct density flow behaviour downslope. Froude numbers are high near the rollover point and gradually decrease downslope as the slope becomes gentler. Conversely, the specific discharge and flow depth are low near the rollover point and gradually increase downslope as the flow either erodes sediments or becomes more dilute due to sediment deposition and water entrainment. The supercritical density flows are believed to be triggered mainly by hyperpycnal flows but some evidence of delta-front slope failures is also observed. The differences in delta morphology and bedform development between the four deltas are linked to basin morphology and watershed hydrology, but also mainly to the fjord heritage of the lakes that allowed the focusing of sediment at the delta front.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: cyclic steps; deltas; hyperpycnal flows; multibeam bathymetry; sediment density flows; turbidity currents
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 07 mai 2018 17:57
Dernière modification: 07 mai 2018 17:57
URI: http://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/5708

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