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Keywords:

  • Bar complex;
  • cross-bedding;
  • hydraulic jump;
  • sediment transport;
  • unit bar

Abstract

Sediment accumulation downstream of hydraulic jumps can occur in many settings but the architectures of such deposits are poorly documented. Here, three flume runs were used to examine the influence of sediment grain size and transport rate on the characteristics of hydraulic-jump unit bars. In one of these runs six hydraulic-jump unit bars formed a hydraulic-jump bar complex. In another, the same sediment was supplied more quickly and only two unit bars formed. In the third run with the same sediment supply rate, but different grain size, only one large unit bar formed. All unit bars developed in a similar way but their size and internal architecture differed; they all resulted from a reduction in sediment transport capacity at the transition from supercritical flow to subcritical flow in the hydraulic jump. After initial onset of sedimentation and unit bar formation, generation of subsequent unit bars may be: (i) related to small changes in sediment flux; and (ii) independent of changes in the hydraulic jump. Continued sedimentation caused changes from oscillating to weak hydraulic jumps and hydraulic-jump unit bars formed in both circumstances. The flow of water and suspended sediment becomes shallower over the lee of the bar complex. This leads to flow acceleration and a return to supercritical flow conditions. In turn, a chain of such features can form and generate a chute and pool bed morphology. There is an inherent upper size limit to a hydraulic-jump bar complex due to the changing flow conditions over the growing deposit as the water above it becomes shallower. There is also an amplitude minimum for the development of foresets and subsequent unit bar growth. Hydraulic-jump unit bars have architectures that should be recognizable in the rock record and because their size is constrained by the flow conditions, their identification should be useful for interpreting palaeoenvironment.