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Fine sediment in mixed sand-silt environments impacts bedform geometry by altering sediment mobility
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  • Sjoukje Irene de Lange,
  • Iris Niesten,
  • Sanne H.J. van de Veen,
  • Jaco H. Baas,
  • Jasper F.D. Lammers,
  • Kryss Waldschläger,
  • David Boelee,
  • A.J.F. (Ton) Hoitink
Sjoukje Irene de Lange
Wageningen University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Iris Niesten
Wageningen University
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Sanne H.J. van de Veen
Wageningen University
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Jaco H. Baas
Bangor University
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Jasper F.D. Lammers
Wageningen University & Research
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Kryss Waldschläger
Wageningen University of Research
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David Boelee
Wageningen Univeristy
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A.J.F. (Ton) Hoitink
Wageningen University
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Geometric characteristics of subaqueous bedforms, such as height, length and leeside angle, are crucial for determining hydraulic form roughness and interpreting sedimentary records. Traditionally, bedform existence and geometry predictors are primarily based on uniform, cohesionless sediments. However, mixtures of sand, silt and clay are common in deltaic, estuarine, and lowland river environments, where bedforms are ubiquitous. Therefore, we investigate the impact of fine sand and silt in sand-silt mixtures on bedform geometry, based on laboratory experiments conducted in a recirculating flume. We systematically varied the content of sand and silt for different discharges, and utilized a UB-Lab 2C (a type of acoustic Doppler velocimeter) to measure flow velocity profiles. The final bed geometry was captured using a line laser scanner. Our findings reveal that the response of bedforms to an altered fine sediment percentage is ambiguous, and depends on, among others, bimodality-driven bed mobility and sediment cohesiveness. When fine, non-cohesive material (fine sand or coarse silt) is mixed with the base material (medium sand), the hiding-exposure effect comes into play, resulting in enhanced mobility of the coarser material and leading to an increase in dune height and length. However, the addition of weakly-cohesive fine silt reduces the mobility, suppressing dune height and length. Finally, in the transition from dunes to upper stage plane bed, the bed becomes unstable and bedform heights vary over time. The composition of the bed material does not significantly impact the hydraulic roughness, but mainly affects roughness via the bed morphology, especially the leeside angle.
16 Jan 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
22 Jan 2024Published in ESS Open Archive