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The role of biophysical cohesion on subaqueous bed form size: COHESION IN SUBAQUEOUS BED FORMS

Parsons, Daniel R.; Schindler, Robert J.; Hope, Julie A.; Malarkey, Jonathan; Baas, Jaco H.; Peakall, Jeffrey; Manning, Andrew J.; Ye, Leiping; Simmons, Steve; Paterson, David M.; Aspden, Rebecca J.; Bass, Sarah J.; Davies, Alan G.; Lichtman, Ian D.; Thorne, Peter D.


Daniel R. Parsons

Robert J. Schindler

Julie A. Hope

Jonathan Malarkey

Jaco H. Baas

Jeffrey Peakall

Andrew J. Manning

Leiping Ye

David M. Paterson

Rebecca J. Aspden

Sarah J. Bass

Alan G. Davies

Ian D. Lichtman

Peter D. Thorne


Biologically 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.


Parsons, D. R., Schindler, R. J., Hope, J. A., Malarkey, J., Baas, J. H., Peakall, J., …Thorne, P. D. (2016). The role of biophysical cohesion on subaqueous bed form size: COHESION IN SUBAQUEOUS BED FORMS. Geophysical research letters, 43(4), 1566-1573.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 22, 2016
Online Publication Date Feb 19, 2016
Publication Date Feb 28, 2016
Deposit Date Dec 21, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Geophysical research letters
Print ISSN 0094-8276
Electronic ISSN 1944-8007
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 4
Pages 1566-1573
Keywords General Earth and Planetary Sciences; Geophysics
Public URL
Publisher URL;jsessionid=16C1EFE61E8669295E4C3254F5D32D9F.f03t03
Additional Information Copy of article: Parsons, D. R., et al. (2016), The role of biophysical cohesion on subaqueous bed form size, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 1566–1573, doi:10.1002/2016GL067667.


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Copyright Statement
©2016. The Authors.<br /> <br /> This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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