Sediment Transport

The main agencies by which sedimentary materials are moved are: gravity (gravity transport); running water (rivers and streams); ice (glaciers); wind; the sea (currents and longshore drift). Running water and wind are the most widespread transporting agents. In both cases, three mechanisms operate, although the particle size of the transported material involved is very different, owing to the differences in density and viscosity of air and water. The three processes are: rolling or traction, in which the particle moves along the bed but is too heavy to be lifted from it; saltation; and suspension, in which particles remain permanently above the bed, sustained there by the turbulent flow of the air or water.