Strudel Scour: An Arctic Seafloor Scouring Process

by Thomas L. Johnson, Univ of California, Berkeley, Hydraulic & Coastal Engineering, Group, Berkeley, CA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Civil Engineering in the Arctic Offshore


Strudel scour is an arctic phenomenon which occurs every spring when the fresh-water rivers melt and inundate the sea ice cover of the arctic sea. This fresh water flowing out over the ice drains through flaws which penetrate the ice. It does so with sufficient velocity to scour holes in the seafloor sediments. These strudel scour holes have been observed to have typical depths of 13-20 ft (4-6 m) and diameters of 30-40 ft (10-30 m). The experiments performed at the University of California O'Brien Hall Hydraulics Laboratory were an attempt to quantify the velocity discharge coefficient of an assumed hole geometry. Results are presented for two cases; when the fresh water is effectively ponded over the hole and when the fresh water has a horizontal as well as vertical velocity. The problem was essentially a short tube problem with free surface vortex formation and horizontal velocities included.

Subject Headings: Scour | Sea floor | Fresh water | Fluid velocity | Water discharge | Ice | Salt water intrusion | Arctic

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