Turbidity Currents

   Turbidity currents are oceanic gravity currents which derive their motive force through suspended sediment.  Current laboratory models of these currents are performed in the tank shown below.  The figure on the left shows the lexan tank with the gate at the far end and the figure on the right shows the structure of the gate.  As the gate is lifted two opening simultaneously open allowing the turbidity current to flow out the bottom and a return flow in through the top.


   Here are some side shots of the intruding gravity currents.


Sample Data Set

    Data from the intruding turbidity currents is collected with a digital camera located above the tank.  Images of the flow are as shown below.  Here the size of the area being viewed is approximately 55x55cm and the time interval between shots is approximately 5 seconds.


Here the space-time evolution of the lobe/cleft pattern at the leading edge of the current is readily apparent.


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The Experimental Nonlinear Physics Group, Dept. of Physics, University of Toronto,
60 St. George St. Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 1A7. Phone (416) 978 - 6810.