Hydroplaning of subaqueous debris flows

David Mohrig, Kelin Whipple, Midhat Hondzo, Chris Ellis, Gary Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

275 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report laboratory experiments that demonstrate that the fronts of subaqueous debris flows can hydroplane on thin layers of water. The hydroplaning dramatically reduces the bed drag, thus increasing head velocity. These high velocities promote sediment suspension and turbidity-current formation. Hydroplaning causes the fronts of debris flows to accelerate away from their bodies to the point of completely detaching from the bodies, producing surging. Instigation of hydroplaning is controlled by the balance of gravity and inertia forces at the debris front and is suitably characterized by the densimetric Froude number. The laboratory flows constrain hydroplaning to cases where the calculated densimetric Froude number is greater than 0.4. The presence of a basal lubricating layer of water underneath hydroplaning debris flows and slides offers a possible explanation for the long run-out distances of many subaqueous flows and slides on very low slopes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-394
Number of pages8
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of America
Volume110
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

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debris flow
Froude number
turbidity current
inertia
drag
gravity
water
sediment
laboratory experiment
laboratory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Hydroplaning of subaqueous debris flows. / Mohrig, David; Whipple, Kelin; Hondzo, Midhat; Ellis, Chris; Parker, Gary.

In: Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, Vol. 110, No. 3, 03.1998, p. 387-394.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mohrig, David ; Whipple, Kelin ; Hondzo, Midhat ; Ellis, Chris ; Parker, Gary. / Hydroplaning of subaqueous debris flows. In: Bulletin of the Geological Society of America. 1998 ; Vol. 110, No. 3. pp. 387-394.
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