Frazil and anchor ice forming in turbulent, supercooled water have been studied extensively because of problems posed to man-made hydraulic structures. In spite of many incidental observations of interactions of these ice forms with sediment, their geologic effects remain unknown. The present flume study was designed to learn about the effects of salinity, current speed, and sediment type on sediment dynamics in supercooled water. In fresh-water, frazil ice formed flocs as large as 8 cm in diameter that tended to roll along a sandy bottom and collect material from the bed. The heavy flocs often came to rest in the shelter of ripples, forming anchor ice that subsequently was buried by migrating ripples. Burial compressed porous anchor ice into ice-bonded, sediment-rich masses. This process disrupts normal ripple cross-bedding and may produce unique sedimentary structures. Salt-water flocs were smaller, incorporated less bed load, and formed less anchor ice than their fresh-water counterparts. In four experiments, frazil carried a high sediment load only for a short period in supercooled salt water, but released it with slight warming. This suggests that salt-water frazil is either sticky or traps particles only while surrounded by supercooled water (0.05 to 0.1 ??C supercooling), a short-lived phase in simple, small tanks. Salt water anchor ice formed readily on blocks of ice-bonded sediment, which may be common in nature. The theoretical maximum sediment load in neutrally-buoyant ice/sediment mixture is 122 g/l, never reported in nature so far. The maximum sediment load measured in this laboratory study was 88 g/l. Such high theoretical and measured sediment concentrations suggest that frazil and anchor ice are important sediment transport agents in rivers and oceans. ?? 1993.
Additional Publication Details
Interactions of frazil and anchor ice with sedimentary particles in a flume