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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2020-90
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2020-90
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  31 Oct 2020

31 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

Laboratory observations on meltwater meandering rivulets on ice

Roberto Fernández1,2 and Gary Parker2,3 Roberto Fernández and Gary Parker
  • 1Energy and Environment Institute, University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK
  • 2Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
  • 3Department of Geology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

Abstract. We present a set of observations on meltwater meandering rivulets on ice and compare them (qualitatively and quantitatively) to morphologies commonly found in meandering channels in different media. The observations include data from planned centimeter-scale experiments, and from incidental self-formed millimeter-scale rivulets. Our data show pulsed lateral migration features, undercut banks and overhangs, meander bend skewness, and meander bend cutoffs. The data also compare well with planform characteristics of alluvial meandering rivers (sinuosity, wavelength-to-width ratios, and meander bend fatness and skewness). We discuss the (ir)relevance of scale in our experiments, which in spite of being in the laminar flow regime, and are likely affected by surface tension effects, are capable of shedding light into the processes driving formation and evolution of supraglacial meltwater meandering channels. Our observations suggest that sinuosity growth in meltwater meandering channels on ice is a function of flow velocity and the interplay between vertical and lateral incision driven by temperature differences between flow and ice. In the absence of recrystallization (depositional analog to alluvial rivers), bends are more likely to be downstream skewed and channels show lower sinuosities.

Roberto Fernández and Gary Parker

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Roberto Fernández and Gary Parker

Data sets

Meltwater Meandering Channels on Ice: Centerlines and Images. Roberto Fernández, Gary Parker, and Colin P. Stark https://doi.org/10.13012/B2IDB-4384362_V1

Video supplement

Ice Meandering 01 Roberto Fernández https://doi.org/10.5446/40431

Ice meandering 02 Roberto Fernández https://doi.org/10.5446/40432

Roberto Fernández and Gary Parker

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Short summary
We present a set of observations from laboratory experiments on meltwater meandering rivulets on ice and compare them (qualitatively and quantitatively) to patterns commonly found in meandering channels flowing over different materials. Our channels display great similarities with real rivers in spite of being much smaller. Higher temperature differences between water and ice create deeper and less sinuous channels with bends that preferentially point downstream and are not as rounded.
We present a set of observations from laboratory experiments on meltwater meandering rivulets on...
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