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What is turbidity in relation to currents?

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Quick Answer

Turbidity with relation to currents refers to cascades or avalanches of sediment down continental shelves. After a turbidity current, the deposited material is called a turbidite and eventually forms sedimentary rock in the deep ocean.

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Full Answer

Turbidity currents move down the continental slope because the water containing sediment is more dense than the water below and above. After sediment has been disturbed, usually by earthquakes, landslides or volcanic activity, gravity pulls the sediment down the slope. Depending on the amount of sediment disturbed, turbidity currents can be small or very large.

The speed of turbidity currents also varies. Turbidity currents disrupt underwater cables, so the velocity of the current can be determined by the amount of time that passes between disruptions in different cables.

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