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Gravity Currents Produced by Sudden Release of a Fixed Volume of Heavy Fluid

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In this paper we study various aspects of gravity (or density) currents arising from instantaneous releases of heavy fluids in a rectangular channel with a horizontal bottom. It is shown, by means of a scaling argument, that these plane currents can be successfully modeled by a two‐by‐two system in conservation form together with a pair of algebraic relations. A number of numerical experiments are carried out using this “weak stratification” model to elicit information concerning the behavior of gravity currents. A weakly nonlinear analysis is employed to clarify some aspects that were uncovered by the numerical experimentation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Alberta, Edmonton

Publication date: May 1, 1996

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