In late Mayor early June, water from melting land ice and snow flows over the bottom-fast ice in the coastal river systems of the North Slope of Alaska. The fresh water of the major coastal rivers flood out over the inner shelf sea ice to a distance of 20 km prior to ice break-up. The strudel scours along 306 km of tracklines in water depths ranging from 0.6 to 7.0 m in the Sagavanirktok River Delta of the Beaufort Sea have been documented and analyzed. The inter-relationships between the numbers of areal and individual strudel scours versus scour depth and scour diameters versus scour depth have been studied statistically. Individual strudel scours are typically less than 4.0 m deep and several tens of meters across, while areal strudel scours typically are less than 2.0 m deep and a hundred meters wide.
Research on strudel scour has been done largely based on field observations and compilations of strudel scour occurrences to predict a rate of occurrence. Strudel scour can affect on the near shore bottom topography along the Arctic coast where river deltas occur. The installation of underwater cables or pipeline systems from offshore drilling platforms or manmade islands to onshore transportation or refining facilities will most likely be threatened by the occurrence of strudel scour. The construction of causeways will effect the sediment transport rates in the near shore coastal regions which in turn can impact the strudel scour hole infilling rate and thus may adversely impact the delicate ecosystems which exist as a result of these scour holes. The weight of the overlying fresh water depresses the floating fast ice. The overlying fresh water drains through cracks and holes in the depressed ice. The draining water moves quickly enough to develop coriolis effected whirlpools.