Sediment Transport Processes

Andrea Ogston and Richard Sternberg, Co-Investigators

The long-term goal of the sediment transport and accumulation component of EUROSTRATFORM is to link sediment transport processes to the formation and preservation of event beds in sediment deposits.  Specifically we would like to 1) investigate the range of processes responsible for shelf transport of sediment (including "storm-driven" and "density-driven" processes), 2) contrast results in Adriatic with those on the Eel shelf, and 3) provide a regional climatology of sediment transport processes.

Our goal is to expand what we have learned about continental-shelf sediment dynamics in the STRATAFORM project by moving into a different environment, the Adriatic Sea.  The two study areas within the Adriatic not only provide a contrast to the Eel River shelf, but allow evaluation of two different end-member river systems discharging into relatively low-energy oceanic basin.  The two study areas are the Po System and the Apennine System.  Discharge from the Po River comes from a large drainage basin and is relatively disconnected in time from the energetic conditions in the Adriatic  The Po River deposit, located to the south of the river mouth, suggests alongshelf dispersal of sedimetn from this point source.  Discharge from the Apennine rivers is highly episodic, coming from a multiple-source system of small, high yield drainage basins.  High discharge and more energetic ocean conditions probably occur concurrently.  The steep shelf slope and prograding clinoform feature suggest that the sediment discharged from the rivers is likely transported rapidly across-shelf.  Similarly, the Eel River is also an episodic, high yield system and floods occur contemporaneously with high-energy conditions in the ocean basin.