We analyze the global hydrodynamic flow in the ocean of an accreting, rapidly rotating, non-magnetic neutron star in an LMXB during a type I X-ray burst. Our analysis takes into account the rapid rotation of the star and the lift-up of the burning ocean during the burst. We find a new regime for spreading of a nuclear burning front, where the flame is carried along a coherent shear flow across the front. If turbulent viscosity is weak, the speed of flame propagation is ~20 km/s, while, if turbulent viscosity is dynamically important, the flame speed increases, and reaches the maximum value, ~300 km/s, when the eddy overturn frequency is comparable to the Coriolis parameter. We show that, due to rotationally reduced gravity, the thermonuclear runaway is likely to begin on the equator. The equatorial belt is ignited first, and the flame then propagates from the equator to the poles. Inhomogeneous cooling (equator first, poles second) drives strong zonal currents which may be unstable to formation of Jupiter-type vortices; we conjecture that these vortices are responsible for modulation of X-ray flux in the tails of some bursts. We consider the effect of strong zonal currents on the frequency of modulation of the X-ray flux and show that the large values of the frequency drifts observed in some bursts can be accounted for within our model combined with the model of homogeneous radial expansion. Also, if inhomogeneities are trapped in the forward zonal flows around the propagating burning front, chirps with large frequency ranges (~25-500 Hz) may be detectable during the burst rise. We argue that an MHD dynamo within the burning front can generate a small-scale magnetic field, which may enforce vertically rigid flow in the front's wake and can explain the coherence of oscillations in the burst tail.

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