Articles | Volume 9, issue 5
Earth Surf. Dynam., 9, 1323–1334, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-9-1323-2021
Earth Surf. Dynam., 9, 1323–1334, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-9-1323-2021

Research article 30 Sep 2021

Research article | 30 Sep 2021

Sand mining far outpaces natural supply in a large alluvial river

Christopher R. Hackney et al.

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Cited articles

Anthony, E. J., Brunier, G., Besset, M., Goichot, M., Dussouillez, P., and Nguyen, V. L.: Linking rapid erosion of the Mekong River delta to human activities, Nat. Publ. Gr., 5, 14745, https://doi.org/10.1038/srep14745, 2015. 
Ashraf, M. A., Maah, M. J., Yusoff, I., Wajid, A., and Mahmood, K.: Sand mining effects, causes and concerns: A case study from Bestari Jaya, Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia, Sci. Res. Essays, 6, 1216–1231, 2011. 
Bagnold, R. A.: An empirical correlation of bedload transport rates in flumes and natural rivers, P. Roy. Soc. A, 372, 453–473, 1980. 
Barman, B., Kumar, B., and Sarma, A. K.: Turbulent flow structures and geomorphic characteristics of a mining affected alluvial channel, Earth Surf. Proc. Land., 43, 1811–1824, https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4355, 2018. 
Bendixen, M., Best, J. L., Hackney, C. R., and Iversen, L. L.: Time is running out for sand, Nature, 571, 29–31, https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-02042-4, 2019. 
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Short summary
Unsustainable sand mining poses a threat to the stability of river channels. We use satellite imagery to estimate volumes of material removed from the Mekong River, Cambodia, over the period 2016–2020. We demonstrate that current rates of extraction now exceed previous estimates for the entire Mekong Basin and significantly exceed the volume of sand naturally transported by the river. Our work highlights the importance of satellite imagery in monitoring sand mining activity over large areas.