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Observations of pockmark flow structure in Belfast Bay, Maine, Part 1: current-induced mixing

December 1, 2016

Field observations of current profiles and temperature, salinity, and density structure were used to examine vertical mixing within two pockmarks in Belfast Bay, Maine. The first is located in 21 m water depth (sea level to rim), nearly circular in shape with a 45 m rim diameter and 12 m rim-to-bottom relief. The second is located in 25 m water depth, more elongated in shape with an approximately 80 m (36 m) major (minor) axis length at the rim, and 17 m relief. Hourly averaged current profiles were acquired from bottom-mounted acoustic Doppler current profilers deployed on the rim and center of each pockmark over successive 42 h periods in July 2011. Conductivity–temperature–depth casts at the rim and center of each pockmark show warmer, fresher water in the upper water column, evidence of both active and fossil thermocline structure 5–8 m above the rim, and well-mixed water below the rim to the bottom. Vertical velocities show up- and down-welling events that extend into the depths of each pockmark. An observed temperature change at both the rim and center occurs coincident with an overturning event below the rim, and suggests active mixing of the water column into the depths of each pockmark. Vertical profiles of horizontal velocities show depth variation at both the center and rim consistent with turbulent logarithmic current boundary layers, and suggest that form drag may possibly be influencing the local flow regime. While resource limitations prevented observation of the current structure and water properties at a control site, the acquired data suggest that active mixing and overturning within the sampled pockmarks occur under typical benign conditions, and that current flows are influenced by upstream bathymetric irregularities induced by distant pockmarks.

Publication Year 2017
Title Observations of pockmark flow structure in Belfast Bay, Maine, Part 1: current-induced mixing
DOI 10.1007/s00367-016-0472-4
Authors Christina L. Fandel, Thomas C. Lippmann, James D. Irish, Laura L. Brothers
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geo-Marine Letters
Index ID 70178660
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center