The copyright line for this article was changed on 23 October 2014 after original online publication.
Superelevation and overspill control secondary flow dynamics in submarine channels
Article first published online: 13 AUG 2013
©2013. The Authors. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans published by Wiley on behalf of the American Geophysical Union.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Volume 118, Issue 8, pages 3895–3915, August 2013
How to Cite
2013), Superelevation and overspill control secondary flow dynamics in submarine channels, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 118, 3895–3915, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20277., , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 20 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 13 AUG 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 26 JUN 2013 12:07AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 10 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 7 MAR 2013
- Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) . Grant Numbers: NE/F020120/1 , NE/F020511/1
- density current;
- secondary flow
 In subaerial and submarine meander bends, fluid flow travels downstream in a helical spiral, the structure of which is determined by centrifugal, hydrostatic, baroclinic, and Coriolis forces that together balance frictional stresses generated by the flow. The sense of rotation of this helical flow, and in particular, whether the near bed flow is directed toward the inner bank, e.g., “river-normal,” or outer bank, e.g., “river-reversed,” is crucial to the morphodynamic evolution of the channel. However, in recent years, there has been a debate over the river-normal or river-reversed nature of submarine flows. Herein, we develop a novel three-dimensional closure of secondary flow dynamics, incorporating downstream convective material transport, to cast new light on this debate. Specifically, we show that the presence of net radial material transport, arising from flow superelevation and overspill, exerts a key control on the near bed orientation of secondary flow in submarine meanders. Our analysis implies that river-reversed flows are likely to be much more prevalent throughout submarine-canyon fan systems than prior studies have indicated.