Measurements of Density Underflows from Walensee, Switzerland

  1. Dorrik A. V. Stow
  1. André M. Lambert1,
  2. Kerry R. Kelts1 and
  3. Neil F. Marshall2

Published Online: 29 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304473.ch8

Deep-Water Turbidite Systems

Deep-Water Turbidite Systems

How to Cite

Lambert, A. M., Kelts, K. R. and Marshall, N. F. (1991) Measurements of Density Underflows from Walensee, Switzerland, in Deep-Water Turbidite Systems (ed D. A. V. Stow), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304473.ch8

Editor Information

  1. Department of Geology, University of Southampton, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    Geological Institute, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland

  2. 2

    Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, La Jolla, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 11 NOV 1991

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632032624

Online ISBN: 9781444304473



  • sediment-laden rivers;
  • oceanographic current meters;
  • critical slope;
  • current direction;
  • sporadic currents


Speed and direction of bottom currents induced by density underflow of two sediment-laden rivers were measured by oceanographic current meters in the Walensee (= Lake of Walenstadt), Switzerland. The apparently shooting flow of currents (up to 30 cm/s in this study) is suggested as an explanation for laminations in turbidite sequences. The current speed apparently stabilizes on slopes around 2°; this angle seems to correspond to the critical slope where the flow of the measured currents becomes steady. Current direction is controlled by bottom topography and direction of river inflow. Reversal of current direction observed at two sites is probably due to the underflow-induced backward motion of the overlying lake water. Underflow activity in Walensee is correlative with density peaks of the river water input. The currents are compared to Lake Mead (Southwestern U.S.) underflows and sporadic currents in some submarine canyons.