Submarine cyclic steps are a newly recognized manifestation of fundamental morphodynamic instability of Froude-supercritical flow over an erodible bed. There is a growing recognition of the global presence and importance of cyclic steps. An attempt was made here to: (1) outline submarine cyclic steps in the context of the sediment waves of various origins; (2) elucidate the physics and key parameters governing their formation, migration, and architecture; and (3) summarize selected numerical experiments on net-depositional and net-erosional cyclic steps in a useful form. The paper also addresses frequent terminology confusion between net-depositional cyclic steps and sediment waves in general.
- Received 5 April 2010.
- Revision received 7 October 2010.
- Accepted 17 October 2010.
- © 2011 Geological Society of America