Impact of flow variability and sediment characteristics on channel width evolution

Andrés Vargas-Luna, Alessandra Crosato, Protogene Byishimo, Wim Uijttewaal

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Alluvial rivers are shaped by sequences of water flows excavating their channels. Observations show that besides the magnitude, also the frequency and duration of streamflow oscillations might be important for the river channel formation. In addition, the river morphology appears influenced also by both size and degree of uniformity of the sediment. Nevertheless, many morphodynamic studies still represent the flow regime with a single value of the discharge, often corresponding to the bankfull condition, and the sediment with its median grain size. This work investigates the effects of streamflow variability and sediment characteristics on channel width formation, analysing the evolution of experimental streams with different sediments and discharge hydrographs. Results show that the formative condition of the channel width is not the geometric bankfull flow but a rather frequent peak flow. Remarkably different channel configurations arise from different sediment characteristics in the laboratory, where sediment non-uniformity produces more stable banks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number05044
Number of pages8
JournalE3S Web of Conferences
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2018
EventRiver Flow 2018: 9th International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics - Lyon-Villeurbanne, France
Duration: 5 Sep 20188 Sep 2018
Conference number: 9

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