A kinematic model for the structure of lee-side deposits

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ABSTRACT

A kinematic model for the structure of the lee-side deposit of a dune-like bedform, Gilbert-type delta, or similar step is developed, based on the assumptions that initial deposition is entirely by grainfall, that the rate of deposition decreases as a power function of distance downflow from the brink of the slipface, and that the resulting steepening of the slipface is periodically interrupted by avalanching. The parameters used in the model are: (1) the deposition rate at a given distance from the brink, (2) the exponent in the equation relating the deposition rate to distance from the brink, (3) the bedform migration rate, (4) the bedform height, (5) the avalanche speed, (6) the angle of initial yield, and (7) the residual angle after avalanching. From these parameters can be calculated structural characteristics such as the proportions of bottomset and foreset deposits, the proportions of avalanche and grainfall deposits in the foreset deposit, and the spacing of avalanche-grainfall couplets.

The model correctly predicts the trends of changing avalanche activity and changing structural character with changes in flow character, grain size, and bedform height in both air and water. Moreover, the model correctly predicts certain consistent structural differences between aeolian and subaqueous lee-side deposits. Quantitative evaluation of the model requires more accurate data on the values of the input parameters than are presently available.

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