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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 22 Nov 2017

Research article | 22 Nov 2017

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).

Geomorphic implications of gravity currents created by changing initial conditions

Jessica Zordan1, Anton J. Schleiss1, and Mário J. Franca1,2 Jessica Zordan et al.
  • 1Laboratory of hydraulic constructions (LCH), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2River Basin Development chair group, Water Science and Engineering department, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, 2611 Delft, the Netherlands

Abstract. Gravity currents reproduced in laboratory by the lock-exchange technique are here tested for three initial densities and five lock-lengths, for horizontal and four inclinations of the lock. The main purpose is to quantify the effect of the increment of gravitational forces, due to the introduction of a slope, on the hydrodynamics of gravity currents and consequently on its transport capacity. The shape of the current is altered due to the enhanced entrainment of ambient water and mainly the body of the current results affected. A range of slopes is tested, going from horizontal to a limit case in which two mechanisms compete, i.e. the current entrainment of water from the upper surface due to the increment of friction and the head feeding by the rear steady current. In particular, bed shear stress and the corresponding geomorphic potential are analyzed. Using a base experience where erosion of a mobile bed was investigated, the implications of an inclined lock in the entrainment capacity of the flow is here discussed.

Jessica Zordan et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Jessica Zordan et al.
Jessica Zordan et al.
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