Effects of environmental properties on sand wave morphology

New paper: Effects of environmental properties on sand wave morphology

The bed in shallow shelf seas is not flat but composed of large bedforms with length scales up to 100- 1,000s of meters (Figure). A good understanding of such bed forms, such as sand waves, is of key importance for shipping safety, offshore constructions, and the deployment of cables and pipelines.

In order to explain the spatial variation in the morphology of equilibrium sand waves on continental shelves with processes and local bed conditions, John Damen et al. (2018) present a high-resolution analysis of sand wave dimensions, measured through multibeam echo soundings at the Dutch North Sea. The dimensions are related to environmental properties, using hydrodynamic models and databases and sedimentary data.

A key result is that the mode of sediment transport (bed load or suspended) is a dominant factor in explaining sand wavelength, height, and asymmetry. The full database of sand wave dimensions in the Netherlands Continental Shelf stored online (open access). These data and results are highly valuable for applied offshore engineering projects and to modellers for validating their morphodynamic model results.

The full paper and a link to the data repository can be found at the website of Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.


Published 27th February 2018.

Figure: Water depth of the Netherlands Continental Shelf, bed forms at various scales.