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Delorme, Pauline; Voller, Vaughan; Paola, Chris; Devauchelle, Olivier; Lajeunesse, Éric; Barrier, Laurie; Métivier, François (2016)
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects:
Using laboratory experiments, we investigate the growth of an alluvial fan fed with two distinct granular materials. Throughout the growth of the fan, its surface maintains a radial segregation, with the less mobile sediment concentrated near the apex. Scanning the fan surface with a laser, we find that the transition between the proximal and distal deposits coincides with a distinct slope break. A radial cross-section reveals that the stratigraphy of the deposit bears the mark of this consistent segregation. To interpret these observations, we conceptualize the fan as a radially symmetric structure that maintains its geometry as it grows. When combined with slope measurements, this model proves consistent with the sediment mass balance and successfully predicts the slope of the proximal-distal transition as preserved in the fan stratigraphy. The threshold channel theory provides an order-of-magnitude estimate of the fan slope, but relatively high sediment discharges manifest themselves in the form of slopes 3–5 times higher than those predicted from the theory.
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