Gravity Currents: A Comparison of Analytical and Numerical Solutions
Turbidity currents are sediment-driven flows in lakes or in the ocean ('underwater avalanches') which propagate along the seafloor due to the density difference caused by the suspended particles. They play an important role within the global sediment cycle, and in the formation of deep-sea hydrocarbon reservoirs. The sediment deposits generated by these currents, known as turbidites, extend over tens or even hundreds of kilometers along the bottom of the ocean, and they frequently are hundreds of meters deep. Due to the infrequent and unpredictable occurrence of turbidity currents in remote areas, and their destructive nature, field data regarding their structure and evolution are very difficult to obtain. Consequently, in addition to laboratory experiments, high-resolution simulations have become an important tool for the exploration of their dynamics. This research mainly focuses on the numerical simulations of these currents via the solution of the Navier-Stokes and sediment transport equations, using a custom-made program (written in C) called TURBINS.