Geometry and migration characteristics of bedforms under waves and currents. Part 2: Ripples superimposed on sandwaves

Yovanni A. Cataño-Lopera, Marcelo H. García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper presents results of a series of detailed measurements of geometric and migrating characteristics of ripples superimposed upon sandwaves under the action of combined waves and currents. Velocity measurements within the fluid, surface wave characteristics and 3D mapping of the bottom were recorded with an Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV), an acoustic water level sensor and a 32 composite element array of sub-aquatic acoustic sensors, respectively. Bottom records were statistically analyzed to obtain height, length and migration rates of ripples. Experiments examined ripple heights and wavelengths for the mobility factors (as defined in Eq. (4)) and the Reynolds wave number within the ranges 10 < ψ < 88 and 16 × 103 < Rew < 5 × 105, respectively. Measured values were compared with laboratory and field data together with semi-empirical and analytical formulae from the literature. Good correlation was obtained when plotting measured ripple length and length in dimensionless form as a function of the Reynolds wave number Rew. Under a given hydraulic condition, it was observed that ripples with different geometric characteristics may coexist at different locations over the sandwave. Ripple steepness is presented as a function of the Shields parameter although characterized with rather large scatter. Finally, average ripple migration speed is presented as a function of the Shields parameter and the mobility number.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-792
Number of pages12
JournalCoastal Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006



  • Bedforms
  • Ripples
  • Sediment transport
  • Statistical analysis
  • Waves plus currents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering

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