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On the Mechanics of Lutoclines and Fluid Mud

Mark A. Ross and Ashish J. Mehta
Journal of Coastal Research
SPECIAL ISSUE NO. 5. High Concentration Cohesive Sediment Transport (SUMMER 1989), pp. 51-62
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25735365
Page Count: 12
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On the Mechanics of Lutoclines and Fluid Mud
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Abstract

The need to predict cohesive sediment transport rates in estuaries requires that the characteristics of the vertical suspension profile including lutocline and fluid mud layers be quantitatively understood. Cohesive sediment suspensions behave as stratified flows with mixing non-linearly dependent on concentration gradient. Additional complexity arises from the non-linear setting velocity dependence on concentration. Lutoclines form and persist in local regions of vertical diffusive flux minima. Near-bed fluid mud layers develop from rapid bed erosion or suspension deposition rates relative to upward mixing fluxes. The upper interface of the fluid mud layer, also a lutocline, represents a local maximum in the net (sum of settling and diffusion) downward settling flux. The lower fluid mud/bed interface, defined on the basis of soil mechanical properties, is in general quite different from the zero velocity plane. This because the zero velocity plane is very sensitive to the time histories of the hydrodynamic and rheological properties of the suspension, while the bed level is primarily dependent on the degree of consolidation and stress loading.

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