Analytical and Numerical Solution of a Generalized Stefan Problem Exhibiting Two Moving Boundaries With Application to Ocean Delta Formation

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A model associated with the formation of sedimentary ocean deltas is presented. This model is a generalized one-dimensional Stefan problem bounded by two moving boundaries, the shoreline and the alluvial-bedrock transition. The sediment transport is a non-linear diffusive process; the diffusivity modeled as a power law of the fluvial slope. Dimensional analysis shows that the first order behavior of the moving boundaries is determined by the dimensionless parameter 0 ≤ Ra b ≤ 1-the ratio of the fluvial slope to bedrock slope at the alluvial-bedrock transition. A similarity form of the governing equations is derived and a solution that tracks the boundaries obtained via the use of a numerical ODE solver; in the cases where the exponent θ in the diffusivity model is zero (linear diffusion) or infinite, closed from solutions are found. For the full range of the diffusivity exponents, 0 ≤ θ → ∞, the similarity solution shows that when Ra b < 0.4 there is no distinction in the predicted speeds of the moving boundaries. Further, within the range of physically meaningful values of the diffusivity exponent, i.e., 0 ≤ θ ∼ 2, reasonable agreement in predictions extents up to Ra b ∼ 0.7. In addition to the similarity solution a fixed grid enthalpy like solution is also proposed; predictions obtained with this solution closely match those obtained with the similarity solution.



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