Migrating Bedforms Generated by Solitary Waves

Giovanni La Forgia, Claudia Adduce, Federico Falcini, Chris Paola

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24 Scopus citations


We present experimental results on the formation of streamwise asymmetric, migrating bedforms resulting from the transition of successive surface solitary waves (SSW) interacting with an initially flat sandy bottom. We analyze seven cases, with differing ratios between SSW height and water depth. For each experiment, we generated 400 SSWs having the same features, investigating their effects on the bed, in terms of near-bed velocity and erosional patterns. Our work proves that SSWs can generate asymmetric bedforms, similar in shape to dunes. The triggering process occurs in the region where the reverse flow induced by bottom boundary layer separation produces local erosion. The action of successive SSWs over the newly formed discontinuities gives rise to bedforms. Differently from steady flows, dune load decreases for larger wave-induced bottom shear stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4738-4746
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 16 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the European Marine Observation and Data network—Physics and the Flagship Project RITMARE—The Italian Research for the Sea—coordinated by the Italian National Research Council and funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research within the National Research Program 2011-15. Experimental data are publicly available through Table 1 and in supporting information.

Publisher Copyright:
©2019. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • bedforms
  • flume experiment
  • solitary waves


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