Grain segregation mechanism in aeolian sand ripples
Many sedimentary rocks are formed by migration of sand ripples. Thin layers of coarse and fine sand are present in these rocks, and understanding how layers in sandstone are created has been a longstanding question. Here, we propose a mechanism for the origin of the most common layered sedimentary structures such as inverse graded climbing ripple lamination and cross-stratification patterns. The mechanism involves a competition between three segregation processes: (i) size-segregation and (ii) shape-segregation during transport and rolling, and (iii) size segregation due to different hopping lengths of the small and large grains. We develop a discrete model of grain dynamics which incorporates the coupling between moving grains and the static sand surface, as well as the different properties of grains, such as size and roughness, in order to test the plausibility of this physical mechanism.
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