Computational Multiphase Flows in the Dead Sea: Sediment Transport, Halite Precipitation, and the Formation of `Salt Giants’

Mechanical Engineering Graduate Seminar



Due to its high salinity content and rapidly declining sea level, the Dead Sea gives rise to a host of fascinating multiphase flow problems, a few of which we will introduce.

Thick, extensive salt layers are commonly found in the Earth's geological record and formed as a result of a negative water balance in saturated hypersaline lakes. Today, the Dead Sea is considered to be the only modern analog to these deep hypersaline lakes. During the dry summer season, the top layer of the Dead Sea is warmer, saltier and undersaturated in salt, and double-diffusive convection delivers dissolved salt from the top to the bottom layer. Numerical simulations that account for the phase change from dissolved to crystalline salt, and for the settling of the salt crystals, demonstrate a mechanism for the deposition of salt and the formation of ‘salt giants’ in the historical geological record.

We furthermore review grain-resolving Navier-Stokes simulations for a variety of sediment transport processes. These simulations are based on an Immersed Boundary approach, which accurately captures the flow around each particle and in each pore space. We will discuss several different applications, among them sedimentation, particle-turbulence interaction and submerged granular collapse processes.  One focus will be on the influence of cohesive forces in such flows, especially the formation and break-up of aggregates consisting of several individual particles.


Salt deposit on the sea floor of the Dead Sea.


Eckart Meiburg received his Ph.D. from the University of Karlsruhe in Germany. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford, and after holding faculty positions at Brown University and the University of Southern California, he moved to UCSB in 2000, where he currently is Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering. 

Eckart Meiburg’s research interests fall into the area of fluid dynamics and transport phenomena, with an emphasis on computational investigations of environmental and multiphase flows. He is a fellow of the APS and ASME, and he is a recipient of the Presidential Young Investigator and Humboldt Senior Research Awards. He was the Ronald Probstein Lecturer at MIT, and he has held visiting positions in Switzerland, France, Germany, Australia, Israel and New Zealand.


Professor Eckart Meiburg

Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of California Santa Barbara

Event Quick Information

12 Feb, 2024
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
KAUST, Bldg. 9, Level 2, Lecture Hall 1