Date of Award

Summer 2001

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

Arnoldo Valle-Levinson

Committee Member

Larry P. Atkinson

Committee Member

Thomas C. Royer

Committee Member

Kuc-Chuin Wong


Measurements of velocity and density profiles were made to describe the flow transverse structure in three inlets of southern Chile. The inlets show marked differences in their transverse dynamics in response to external forcing. In Aysen Fjord (45.2°S) the mean flow showed a three layer structure that was consistent with up-fjord wind-induced exchange, while in Chacao Channel (41.8°S), the mean flow exhibited predominantly a lateral structure that featured sharp velocity shears. In both cases, a bank in the center of the sections seemed to play an important role in shaping the mean flows. In Ventisquero Sound (44.4°S), the presence of a sill/contraction combination determined differences in the residual circulation on both sides of the contraction. The subtidal transverse momentum balance in Aysen alternates from quasigeostrophic during calm winds to a frictional layer and quasigeostrophic interior during periods of wind forcing. In Chacao, both advective accelerations and friction seem to play a major role in the transverse dynamics. In Ventisquero Sound, advective accelerations were dominant to the north of the contraction and over the sill. Typical nondimensional groups such as Rossby number, Ekman number, Reynolds number and Richardson number revealed dynamic similarities and differences among the different systems.


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