Finite dispersal of a separative nepheloid plume by an internal hydraulic jump in a tropical mountainous river estuary

Jiaxue Wu, Lioudmila Ametistova, Malcolm Heron, Charles J. Lemckert, Patrice Kalangi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the dynamics of an internal hydraulic jump in a river plume and associated suspended sediment dispersal. Field investigations were undertaken into the river plume generated by the Herbert River, Australia, following a moderate flood event induced by Cyclone Fritz in 2004. The forced plume experiences an abrupt transition from supercritical to subcritical via an internal hydraulic jump, as defined by a mode-1 internal Froude number computed using the phase speeds from the Taylor-Goldstein equation. The hydraulic theory of a two-layer stratified flow was used to identify the plume shape and the mechanical energy loss within the jump. The hydraulic jump energy loss is primarily transferred to the buoyancy-driven potential energy, uplifting the river plume. Intense stratification decreases the bottom stress, damping the resuspension. Therefore, a separative nepheloid dispersal system occurs at the jump section. Both the upper and lower nepheloid flows are confined to the inner shelf, but have different dispersal behaviors and mechanisms. The upper nepheloid flow, which is primarily controlled by advection and settling, satisfies an exponential decay law of the total suspended sediment concentrations versus the offshore distance. The lower nepheloid flow dominated by deposition is detached seaward near the lift-off point of the river plume. A turbidity front associated with the jump may accumulate a large quantity of suspended sediments, enhancing sediment release from the river plume. These findings will promote in-depth understanding of both the cross-shelf sediment dispersal and muddy deposit on the shelf.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberC11004
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


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