Rip currents as a geological tool



This paper considers the nature and sedimentary significance of rip currents. Rip currents are the main factor responsible for the transport of coarse sediments from the littoral zone to greater depths. Such sediments, deposited outside the zone of wave deformation, may be identified as storm rip current increments within sediments deposited during fair weather. Composite beds deposited during a given wave cycle by storm rip currents are closely similar to ‘turbidites’ and many so called ‘fluxo-turbidites’ described from flysch deposits.

Using data gathered in studies conducted on the modern Baltic coast, supplemented by experimental work and theoretical considerations, a sedimentary model is proposed. The model may be used to interpret possible rip current deposits among shallow water ‘turbidites’, and both modern storm sediments and ancient ‘tempestites’.