The physics of sediment transport initiation, cessation, and entrainment across aeolian and fluvial environments

Pähtz, T., Clark, A. H., Valyrakis, M. and Durán, O. (2020) The physics of sediment transport initiation, cessation, and entrainment across aeolian and fluvial environments. Reviews of Geophysics, 58(1), e2019RG000. (doi: 10.1029/2019RG000679)

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Predicting the morphodynamics of sedimentary landscapes due to fluvial and aeolian flows requires answering the following questions: is the flow strong enough to initiate sediment transport, is the flow strong enough to sustain sediment transport once initiated, and how much sediment is transported by the flow in the saturated state (i.e., what is the transport capacity)? In the geomorphological and related literature, the widespread consensus has been that the initiation, cessation, and capacity of fluvial transport, and the initiation of aeolian transport, are controlled by fluid entrainment of bed sediment caused by flow forces overcoming local resisting forces, whereas aeolian transport cessation and capacity are controlled by impact entrainment caused by the impacts of transported particles with the bed. Here the physics of sediment transport initiation, cessation, and capacity is reviewed with emphasis on recent consensus‐challenging developments in sediment transport experiments, two‐phase flow modeling, and the incorporation of granular physics' concepts. Highlighted are the similarities between dense granular flows and sediment transport, such as a superslow granular motion known as creeping (which occurs for arbitrarily weak driving flows) and system‐spanning force networks that resist bed sediment entrainment; the roles of the magnitude and duration of turbulent fluctuation events in fluid entrainment; the traditionally overlooked role of particle‐bed impacts in triggering entrainment events in fluvial transport; and the common physical underpinning of transport thresholds across aeolian and fluvial environments. This sheds a new light on the well‐known Shields diagram, where measurements of fluid‐entrainment thresholds could actually correspond to entrainment‐independent cessation thresholds.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:T.P. acknowledges support from grant National2550Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 11750410687).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Valyrakis, Dr Manousos
Authors: Pähtz, T., Clark, A. H., Valyrakis, M., and Durán, O.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
Journal Name:Reviews of Geophysics
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
ISSN (Online):1944-9208
Published Online:05 January 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 American Geophysical Union
First Published:First published in Reviews of Geophysics 58(1):e2019RG000679
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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