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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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doi:10.5194/esurf-2016-56
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
25 Nov 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).
Self-similar growth of a bimodal laboratory fan
Pauline Delorme1, Vaughan Voller2, Chris Paola2, Olivier Devauchelle1, Éric Lajeunesse1, Laurie Barrier1, and François Métivier1 1Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris – Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris Diderot, Paris, France
2Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Abstract. Using laboratory experiments, we investigate the growth of an alluvial fan fed with two distinct granular materials. Throughout the growth of the fan, its surface maintains a radial segregation, with the less mobile sediment concentrated near the apex. Scanning the fan surface with a laser, we find that the transition between the proximal and distal deposits coincides with a distinct slope break. A radial cross-section reveals that the stratigraphy of the deposit bears the mark of this consistent segregation. To interpret these observations, we conceptualize the fan as a radially symmetric structure that maintains its geometry as it grows. When combined with slope measurements, this model proves consistent with the sediment mass balance and successfully predicts the slope of the proximal-distal transition as preserved in the fan stratigraphy. The threshold channel theory provides an order-of-magnitude estimate of the fan slope, but relatively high sediment discharges manifest themselves in the form of slopes 3–5 times higher than those predicted from the theory.

Citation: Delorme, P., Voller, V., Paola, C., Devauchelle, O., Lajeunesse, É., Barrier, L., and Métivier, F.: Self-similar growth of a bimodal laboratory fan, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss., doi:10.5194/esurf-2016-56, in review, 2016.
Pauline Delorme et al.
Pauline Delorme et al.
Pauline Delorme et al.

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Short summary
Alluvial fans are sedimentary deposits that take place at the outlet of mountain range. This location makes them the first sedimentary archive where sediments, eroded from mountain, are deposed. Their morphology is controlled by the water and sediment discharges and sediments characteristic. By using controlled laboratory experiments we show that an alluvial fan composed of two distinct sediment has a characteristic shape, it can be decomposed into two fans make of one sediment.
Alluvial fans are sedimentary deposits that take place at the outlet of mountain range. This...
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