Scaling properties of gravity-driven sediments
- Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Abstract. Recent field observations of the statistical distribution of turbidite and debris flow deposits are discussed. In some cases one finds a good fit over 1.5-2 orders of magnitude to the scaling law N(h) α h-B, where N(h) is the number of layers thicker than h. Observations show that the scaling exponent B varies widely from deposit to deposit, ranging from about 1/2 to 2. Moreover, one case is characterized by a sharp crossover in which B increases by a factor of two as h increases past a critical thickness. We propose that the variations in B, either regional or within the same deposit, are indicative of the geometry of the sedimentary basin and the rheological properties of the original gravity-driven flow. The origin of the power-law distribution remains an open question.