Stream power controls the braiding intensity of submarine channels similarly to rivers

Steven Y.J. Lai, Samuel S.C. Hung, Brady Z. Foreman, Ajay B. Limaye, Jean Louis Grimaud, Chris Paola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


We use physical experiments to investigate the response of submarine braided channels driven by saline density currents to increasing inflow discharge and bed slope. We find that, similarly to braided rivers, only a fraction of submarine braided networks have active sediment transport. We then find similar response to imposed change between submarine and fluvial braided systems: (1) both the active and total braiding intensities increase with increasing discharge and slope; (2) the ratio of active braiding intensity to total braiding intensity is 0.5 in submarine braided systems regardless of discharge and slope; and (3) the active braiding intensity scales linearly with dimensionless stream power. Thus, braided submarine channels and braided rivers are similar in some important aspects of their behavior and responses to changes in stream power and bed slope. In light of the scale independence of braided channel planform organization, these results are likely to apply beyond experimental scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5062-5070
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 28

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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