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Deposition is the geological process in which sediments, soil and rocks are added to a landform or landmass. Wind, ice, water, and gravity transport previously weathered surface material, which, at the loss of enough kinetic energy in the fluid, is deposited, building up layers of sediment.

Deposition occurs when the forces responsible for sediment transportation are no longer sufficient to overcome the forces of gravity and friction, creating a resistance to motion; this is known as the null-point hypothesis. Deposition can also refer to the buildup of sediment from organically derived matter or chemical processes. For example, chalk is made up partly of the microscopic calcium carbonate skeletons of marine plankton, the deposition of which has induced chemical processes (diagenesis) to deposit further calcium carbonate. Similarly, the formation of coal begins with the deposition of organic material, mainly from plants, in anaerobic conditions.

Null-point hypothesis

The null-point hypothesis explains how sediment is deposited throughout a shore profile according to its grain size. This is due to the influence of hydraulic energy, resulting in a seaward-fining of sediment particle size, or where fluid forcing equals gravity for each grain size.[2] The concept can also be explained as "sediment of a particular size may move across the profile to a position where it is in equilibrium with the wave and flows acting on that sediment grain".[3] This sorting mechanism combines the influence of the down-slope gravitational force of the profile and forces due to flow asymmetry; the position where there is zero net transport is known as the null point and was first proposed by Cornaglia in 1889.[3] Figure 1 illustrates this relationship between sediment grain size and the depth of the marine environment.

Figure 1. Illustrating the sediment size distribution over a shoreline profile, where finer sediments are transported away from high energy environments and settle out of suspension, or deposit in calmer environments. Coarse sediments are maintained in the upper shoreline profile and are sorted by the wave-generated hydraulic regime

The first principle underlying the null point theory is due to the gravitational force; finer sediments remain in the water column for longer durations allowing transportation outside the surf zone to deposit under calmer conditions. The gravitational effect or settling velocity determines the location of deposition for finer sediments, whereas a grain's internal angle of friction determines the deposition of larger grains on a shore profile.[3] The secondary principle to the creation of seaward sediment fining is known as the hypothesis of asymmetrical thresholds under waves; this describes the interaction between the oscillatory flow of waves and tides flowing over the wave ripple bedforms in an asymmetric pattern.[4] "The relatively strong onshore stroke of the waveforms an eddy or vortex on the lee side of the ripple, provided the onshore flow persists, this eddy remains trapped in the lee of the ripple. When the flow reverses, the eddy is thrown upwards off the bottom and a small cloud of suspended sediment generated by the eddy is ejected into the water column above the ripple, the sediment cloud is then moved seaward by the offshore stroke of the wave." [4] Where there is symmetry in ripple shape the vortex is neutralised, the eddy and its associated sediment cloud develops on both sides of the ripple.[4] This creates a cloudy water column which travels under the tidal influence as the wave orbital motion is in equilibrium.

The Null-point hypothesis has been quantitatively proven in Akaroa Harbour, New Zealand, The Wash, U.K., Bohai Bay and West Huang Sera, Mainland China, and in numerous other studies; Ippen and Eagleson (1955), Eagleson and D

Deposition occurs when the forces responsible for sediment transportation are no longer sufficient to overcome the forces of gravity and friction, creating a resistance to motion; this is known as the null-point hypothesis. Deposition can also refer to the buildup of sediment from organically derived matter or chemical processes. For example, chalk is made up partly of the microscopic calcium carbonate skeletons of marine plankton, the deposition of which has induced chemical processes (diagenesis) to deposit further calcium carbonate. Similarly, the formation of coal begins with the deposition of organic material, mainly from plants, in anaerobic conditions.

The null-point hypothesis explains how sediment is deposited throughout a shore profile according to its grain size. This is due to the influence of hydraulic energy, resulting in a seaward-fining of sediment particle size, or where fluid forcing equals gravity for each grain size.[2] The concept can also be explained as "sediment of a particular size may move across the profile to a position where it is in equilibrium with the wave and flows acting on that sediment grain".[3] This sorting mechanism combines the influence of the down-slope gravitational force of the profile and forces due to flow asymmetry; the position where there is zero net transport is known as the null point and was first proposed by Cornaglia in 1889.[3] Figure 1 illustrates this relationship between sediment grain size and the depth of the marine environment.

Figure 1. Illustrating the sediment size distribution over a shoreline profile, where finer sediments are transported away from high energy environments and settle out of suspension, or deposit in calmer environments. Coarse sediments are maintained in the upper shoreline profile and are sorted by the wave-generated hydraulic regime

The first principle underlying the null point theory is due to the gravitational force; finer sediments remain in the water column for longer durations allowing transportation outside the surf zone to deposit under calmer conditions. The gravitational effect or settling velocity determines the location of deposition for finer sediments, whereas a grain's internal angle of friction determines the deposition of larger grains on a shore profile.[3] The secondary principle to the creation of seaward sediment fining is known as the hypothesis of asymmetrical thresholds under waves; this describes the interaction between the oscillatory flow of waves and tides flowing over the wave ripple bedforms in an asymmetric pattern.[3] The secondary principle to the creation of seaward sediment fining is known as the hypothesis of asymmetrical thresholds under waves; this describes the interaction between the oscillatory flow of waves and tides flowing over the wave ripple bedforms in an asymmetric pattern.[4] "The relatively strong onshore stroke of the waveforms an eddy or vortex on the lee side of the ripple, provided the onshore flow persists, this eddy remains trapped in the lee of the ripple. When the flow reverses, the eddy is thrown upwards off the bottom and a small cloud of suspended sediment generated by the eddy is ejected into the water column above the ripple, the sediment cloud is then moved seaward by the offshore stroke of the wave." [4] Where there is symmetry in ripple shape the vortex is neutralised, the eddy and its associated sediment cloud develops on both sides of the ripple.[4] This creates a cloudy water column which travels under the tidal influence as the wave orbital motion is in equilibrium.

The Null-point hypothesis has been quantitatively proven in Akaroa Harbour, New Zealand, The Wash, U.K., Bohai Bay and West Huang Sera, Mainland China, and in numerous other studies; Ippen and Eagleson (1955), Eagleson and Dean (1959, 1961) and Miller and Zeigler (1958, 1964).

Deposition of non-cohesive sediments

Large-grain sediments transported by either bedload or suspended load will come to rest when there is insufficient bed shear stress and fluid turbulence to keep the sediment moving;[4] with the suspended lo

The Null-point hypothesis has been quantitatively proven in Akaroa Harbour, New Zealand, The Wash, U.K., Bohai Bay and West Huang Sera, Mainland China, and in numerous other studies; Ippen and Eagleson (1955), Eagleson and Dean (1959, 1961) and Miller and Zeigler (1958, 1964).

Large-grain sediments transported by either bedload or suspended load will come to rest when there is insufficient bed shear stress and fluid turbulence to keep the sediment moving;[4] with the suspended load this can be some distance as the particles need to fall through the water column. This is determined by the grain's downward acting weight force being matched by a combined buoyancy and fluid drag force [4] and can be expressed by: