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Quantitative bounds on morphodynamics and implications for reading the sedimentary record

Ganti, Vamsi and Lamb, Michael P. and McElroy, Brandon (2014) Quantitative bounds on morphodynamics and implications for reading the sedimentary record. Nature Communications, 5 . Art. No. 3298. ISSN 2041-1723.

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Sedimentary rocks are the archives of environmental conditions and ancient planetary surface processes that led to their formation. Reconstructions of Earth’s past surface behaviour from the physical sedimentary record remain controversial, however, in part because we lack a quantitative framework to deconvolve internal dynamics of sediment-transport systems from environmental signal preservation. Internal dynamics of landscapes—a consequence of the coupling between bed topography, sediment transport and flow dynamics (morphodynamics)—result in regular and quasiperiodic landforms that abound on the Earth and other planets. Here, using theory and a data compilation of morphodynamic landforms that span a wide range of terrestrial, marine and planetary depositional systems, we show that the advection length for settling sediment sets bounds on the scales over which internal landscape dynamics operate. These bounds provide a universal palaeohydraulic reconstruction tool on planetary surfaces and allow for quantitative identification of depositional systems that may preserve tectonic, climatic and anthropogenic signals.

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Lamb, Michael P.0000-0002-5701-0504
Additional Information:© 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 24 October 2013; Accepted 22 January 2014; Published 28 February 2014. We thank W.W. Fischer, C. Paola, D. Mohrig, R. Ewing and J. Nittrouer for stimulating discussions. This research was supported by the donors of the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund and NSF grant OCE-1233685 to M.P.L. Author contributions: V.G. compiled and analysed the data. M.P.L. and B.Mc. conceived of this study; V.G., M.P.L. and B.Mc. developed the theory, interpreted the results and wrote the manuscript
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American Chemical Society Petroleum Research FundUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140418-103435041
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Official Citation:Ganti, V., Lamb, M. P., & McElroy, B. (2014). Quantitative bounds on morphodynamics and implications for reading the sedimentary record. [Article]. Nat Commun, 5. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4298
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:45054
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:18 Apr 2014 18:31
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 06:25

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