Processes and products of turbidity currents entering soft muddy substrates

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New laboratory experiments reveal that cohesionless turbidity currents are able to enter cohesive soft muddy substrates without losing their shape. These intrabed currents are driven by bed shear stress exceeding bed cohesive strength, and by flow density exceeding bed den - sity. The flows produce unique turbidites with internal mud layers, mixed cohesive-nonco - hesive sediment layers, and flame and load structures. A depositional model for intrabed (I) turbidites is proposed, comprising, from base to top: I1—sand-bearing mud, with a scoured base, dispersed mud, and mud clasts; I2—muddy sand from the intrabed portion of the tur - bidity current; I3—sandy mud with a speckled appearance; and I4—mud-poor sand from the suprabed portion of the flow. Complete I1–I4 turbidites are inferred to dominate loca - tions in nature where the currents mix with the bed and deep erosional scours form, filled with deformed or chaotic sand-mud mixtures. Further downflow, base-missing I2–I4 and I4 sequences signify gradual deceleration, loss of erosivity, and termination of intrabed flow
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-374
Issue number5
Early online date17 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

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