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Sediment dynamics control transient fluvial incision - Comparison of sediment conservation schemes in models of bedrock-alluvial river channel evolution
  • Jingtao Lai,
  • Kimberly Huppert,
  • Jean Braun
Jingtao Lai
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

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Kimberly Huppert
CUNY City College of New York
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Jean Braun
German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ)
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In mountain rivers, sediment from landslides or debris flows can alluviate portions or even full reaches of bedrock channel beds, influencing bedrock river incision rates. Various landscape evolution models have been developed to account for the coevolution of alluvial cover and sediment-flux-dependent bedrock incision. Despite the commonality of their aims, one major difference between these models is the way they account for and conserve sediment. We combine two of the most widely used sediment conservation schemes, an Exner-type scheme and an erosion-deposition scheme, with the saltation-abrasion model for bedrock incision to simulate the coevolution of sediment transport and bedrock incision in a mixed bedrock-alluvial river. We compare models incorporating each of these schemes and perform numerical simulations to explore the transient evolution of bedrock incision rates in response to changes in sediment input. Our results show that the time required for bedrock incision rates to reach a time-invariant value in response to changes in sediment supply is over an order of magnitude faster using the Exner-type scheme than the erosion-deposition scheme. These different response times lead to significantly different time-averaged bedrock incision rates, particularly when the sediment supply is periodic. We explore the implications of different model predictions for modeling mixed bedrock-alluvial rivers where sediment is inevitably delivered to rivers episodically during specific tectonic and climatic events.
02 Nov 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
03 Nov 2023Published in ESS Open Archive