Experimental study of sand streaks formed in turbulent boundary layers



Fine- to medium-grained sand transported as bedload moves in lanes parallel to the flow that are thought to be preserved as parting lineation. A series of six flume experiments was designed to discover the morphology and spacing of these lanes, here called sand streaks, as functions of local shear velocity, U* (9 × 10-3 to 4.8 × 10-2 m s-1), depth (5 × 10-2 and 9.5 × 10-2 m), mean grain diameter (150, 200, 290, 1380 μm), and sediment bedload concentration (0.0–0.39). Low U* flows produce predominantly straight, non-intersecting sand streaks, moderate U* flows produce sub-parallel and en échelon sand streaks, and moderate to high U* flows produce wavy sand streaks and secondary streaks with a spacing an order of magnitude larger. The wavy sand streaks are thought to be composed of sand grains in suspension close to the bed. An upper grain-size limit for the sand streak structure occurs at a grain size between 290 and 1380μm. The spacings of the fine-and medium-grained sand streaks, at low to moderate U* (0.9 × 10-2 to 3 × 10-2m s-1), are similar to those predicted for low-speed fluid streaks, although the fine-grained sand forms more closely-spaced streaks than the medium-grained sand. The spacings of sand streaks formed at moderate to high U* and at bedload concentrations greater than 0.15, are wider than those predicted for the low-speed fluid streaks. The wider spacing is thought to reflect a new type of flow immediately above the moving bed layer in which the formation of low-speed streaks is inhibited. This results from an increase in either grain concentration or grain size. The spacing of parting lineation, also wider than that predicted for low-speed streaks, may reflect this.