The sedimentology of coarse grained hyperconcentrated flow deposits within modern and ancient volcaniclastic and alluvial fan sequences
A minor eruption of Mount Saint Helens in Washington State U. S. A. in 1984, triggered the formation of a debris flow in the headwaters of the North Fork Toutle River. As the debris flow progressed downstream it transformed through the incorporation of water and the loss of sediment and within 34 kilometres became a muddy flood. The deposits produced by the transforming flow and associated recessional flows that followed in its wake, exhibited a coarse grained depositional continuum from debris flow to stream flow, including deposits with intermediate sedimentological characteristics termed "hyperconcentrated flow deposits".The systematic and detailed sedimentological analysis of these deposits, combined with information concerning the characteristics of the flow, has allowed the delineation of hyperconcentrated flow deposits within the debris flow/stream flow depositional continuum and hence the establishment of criteria for the recognition of coarse grained hyperconcentrated flow deposits in the volcaniclastic environment of Mount Saint Helens. Hyperconcentrated flow deposits are generally homogeneous, matrix-supported, unstratified (except where defined by sub units), have sorting characteristics intermediate between debris flow and stream flow and can exhibit a bimodal, generally non imbricate, clast fabric as a function of clast size. Coarse-tail inverse grading may occur but it is weak, or restricted to sub units. Use of these criteria enabled the recognition of hyperconcentrated flow deposits within depositional sequences produced earlier in the eruptive history of Mount Saint Helens.The analysis of Permo-Triassic alluvial fan deposits on the Isle of Lewis Scotland, revealed that elements of the debris flow/stream flow depositional continuum could be recognised by the application of the criteria established in the volcaniclastic environment of Mount Saint Helens.