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Complex Patterns of Sediment Erosion and Deposition under Sea-Level Variations Change: Insights from a Coupled Stratigraphic Experiment and Moving Boundary Modelling Approach for Fluvio-Deltaic Evolution.
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  • Md Nurul Kadir,
  • Jorge Lorenzo-Trueba,
  • Anjali M Fernandes,
  • Arvind Singh
Md Nurul Kadir
Department of Earth and Environmental Studies, Montclair State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Jorge Lorenzo-Trueba
Department of Earth and Environmental Studies, Montclair State University
Anjali M Fernandes
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Denison University
Arvind Singh
Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering, University of Central Florida


Fluvial deltas have worldwide socio-economic importance as human development and infrastructure centers and provide several ecosystem services, including storm protection and nursery habitats. Their subsurface architecture also holds clues to past climate and sea-level change that can be reconstructed from stratigraphy. A significant challenge in inverting stratigraphy is separating the signals of external forcing, such as variations in sea level, and internal processes, such as the dynamics of the fluvial surface and channel network variations. In a previous work, we analyzed laboratory flume data from the Tulane Delta Basin using an experimental run with oscillating sea level conditions and constant sediment supply. We found that the dynamics of the fluvial surface play an important role in delaying the response of the upper portion of the subaerial topset. To further quantify this phenomenon, we couple this flume experiment with a numerical modeling framework that integrates the topset with a subaqueous offshore region or foreset. The numerical model can explain the topset slope, convexity dynamics, and sediment partitioning between the topset and the foreset under sea level variations. For example, it captures how during sea-level rise (SLR), low sedimentation near the topset's center reduces the subaerial slope and increases convexity, while during sea-level fall (SLF), high sedimentation increases the slope and concavity. Moreover, the model can explain the counterintuitive observation of higher sediment topset bypass to the foreset under SLR than SLF due to the reduction in subaerial slope, partially explained by a higher presence of active channels during SLR than SLF. These results underscore the importance of internal processes such as fluvial surface and channel dynamics, which can result in net erosion during SLR and net deposition during SLF, potentially complicating the reconstruction of paleo sea-level from deltaic deposits.
18 May 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
21 May 2024Published in ESS Open Archive