Experiments on the entrainment threshold of well-sorted and poorly sorted carbonate sands

Ellen J. Prager, John B. Southard, Enrique R. Vivoni-Gallart

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60 Scopus citations


Few studies have examined the hydrodynamic behaviour of carbonate sediments. The data presented here are the result of preliminary research on entrainment in well- and poorly sorted carbonate sands. Experiments were performed using naturally occurring sediments in a tilting, recirculating freshwater flume. Results indicate that when of similar size, shape and density, the transport threshold of carbonate sands is similar to that of quartz. However, owing to their lower density and often platy or irregular shape, skeletal sands require a lower shear stress to initiate transport. Because the density of carbonate particles may increasingly vary with grain size, the threshold of motion in coarse carbonate grains may differ more markedly from that of quartz. In poorly sorted samples, results show that the coarse-grained constituents move before the finer-grained components. Grain properties and boundary-layer dynamics are believed to explain this phenomenon. Rollability of the larger grains combined with physical trapping and immersion within a low velocity sublayer are believed to prevent finer particles from moving. Given the appropriate sediments and flow conditions, it may therefore be possible to deposit and preserve fine-grained sediments in a flow regime typically thought to transport such materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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