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Patterns of Alluviation in Mixed Bedrock-Alluvial Channels: 2. Controls on the Formation of Alluvial Patches
  • Jongseok Cho,
  • Peter A. Nelson
Jongseok Cho
Colorado State University
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Peter A. Nelson
Colorado State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Understanding the development and spatial distribution of alluvial patches in mixed bedrock-alluvial rivers is necessary to predict the mechanisms of the interactions between sediment transport, alluvial cover, and bedrock erosion. This study aims to analyze patterns of bedrock alluviation using a 2D morphodynamic model, and to use the model results to better understand the mechanisms responsible for alluvial patterns observed experimentally. A series of simulations are conducted to explore how alluvial patterns in mixed bedrock-alluvial channels form and evolve for different channel slopes and antecedent sediment layer thicknesses. In initially bare bedrock low-slope channels, the model predicts a linear relationship between sediment cover and sediment supply because areas of subcritical flow enable sediment deposition, while in steep-slope channels the flow remains fully supercritical and the model predicts so-called runaway alluviation. For channels initially covered with sediment, the model predicts a slope-dependent sediment supply threshold above which a linear relationship between bedrock exposure and sediment supply develops, and below which the bedrock becomes fully exposed. For a given sediment supply, the fraction of bedrock exposure and average alluvial thickness converge toward the equilibrium value regardless of the initial cover thickness so long as it exceeds a minimum threshold. Steep channels are able to maintain a continuous strip of sediment under sub-capacity sediment supply conditions by achieving a balance between increased form drag as bedforms develop and reduced surface roughness as the portion of alluvial cover decreases. In lower-slope channels, alluvial patches are distributed sporadically in regions of the subcritical flow.
09 Jun 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
11 Jun 2023Published in ESS Open Archive