ORCID

Abstract

AbstractBiologically active, fine‐grained sediment forms abundant sedimentary deposits on Earth's surface, and mixed mud‐sand dominates many coasts, deltas, and estuaries. Our predictions of sediment transport and bed roughness in these environments presently rely on empirically based bed form predictors that are based exclusively on biologically inactive cohesionless silt, sand, and gravel. This approach underpins many paleoenvironmental reconstructions of sedimentary successions, which rely on analysis of cross‐stratification and bounding surfaces produced by migrating bed forms. Here we present controlled laboratory experiments that identify and quantify the influence of physical and biological cohesion on equilibrium bed form morphology. The results show the profound influence of biological cohesion on bed form size and identify how cohesive bonding mechanisms in different sediment mixtures govern the relationships. The findings highlight that existing bed form predictors require reformulation for combined biophysical cohesive effects in order to improve morphodynamic model predictions and to enhance the interpretations of these environments in the geological record.

DOI

10.1002/2016gl067667

Publication Date

2016-02-19

Publication Title

Geophysical Research Letters

Volume

43

Issue

4

First Page

1566

Last Page

1573

ISSN

0094-8276

Organisational Unit

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Share

COinS