Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface

Cover image for Vol. 120 Issue 5

Impact Factor: 3.426

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 19/175 (Geosciences Multidisciplinary)

Online ISSN: 2169-9011

Associated Title(s): Journal of Geophysical Research

Similarities Between Rivers and Submarine Channels


Scientists have long known that the width and depth of rivers follows a power law relationship with discharge. They have also noticed that submarine channels appear to be similar to terrestrial rivers, but there have not been many systematic comparisons of the relationships between submarine channel morphology and discharge. Konsoer et al. compared the width, depth, and slope of 177 submarine channels to those of 231 river cross sections. They found that submarine channels are up to an order of magnitude wider and deeper than the largest terrestrial rivers, but they exhibit a similar power law relationship between width and depth. For submarine channels that were similar in size to rivers the authors found that submarine channels tend to be 1 to 2 orders of magnitude steeper than rivers. The authors also inferred values for sediment concentration in the turbidity currents in the channels and combined this with estimated mean flow velocities to look for a relationship between discharge and morphology in the channels. They found that like rivers, the width and depth of the submarine channels follow a power law scaling with discharge.

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