Transition of a Hyperpycnal Flow Into a Saline Turbidity Current Due to Differential Diffusivities

Liang Zhao, Raphael Ouillon, Bernhard Vowinckel, Eckart Meiburg*, Benjamin Kneller, Zhiguo He

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


We provide a new perspective on the transition of hyperpycnal flows into saline turbidity currents, which permits longer runout lengths than might be otherwise expected. This mechanism relies on the differential turbulent diffusion of salt and sediment, and in contrast to ambient saltwater entrainment it enables the salinification of the freshwater current without diluting the sediment concentration field by a corresponding amount. The freshness-to-sediment ratio is introduced in order to quantify the transition process. The results of high-resolution simulations provide estimates for the transition distance of hyperpycnal model flows into saline turbidity currents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11,875-11,884
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
Early online date13 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2018


  • turbidity current
  • hypercynal flow
  • diffusivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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