Models and Mud: All mud is equal, but some is more equal than others

Posted for Sunday, May 23

 (Brownie points if you know the quote referenced in the title!)

Highlight of the Day: We saw a fluid mud layer today! Its a layer of fluid mud, or water with very high sediment concentrations that forms a distinct layer. It was a couple centimeters in depth on top of the sediment core and had a distinct boundary with the water above it. They have not been observed in that many places and so this was a very cool find!

What’s an erosion experiment? This is what I’ve been mainly working on. We are measuring how easily sediment erodes from the seabed into the water column for different sites around the study area. I’ll try to post a pictures that I took later on.

Here’s the long explanation: This experiment measures at what stress sediment will erode from the seabed. You take a core of sediment from the ocean, and motor with a rotating disk that creates a stress at the sediment-water interface. As the disk spins faster, the stress increases and (usually) more sediment erodes. As this is happening, water is flushed through the cores; salt water comes in and salt water + eroded sediment come out where the amount of sediment in the water is measured. We measure both the turbidity of the water and suspended sediment concentrations.