Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2021-42
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2021-42

  09 Jun 2021

09 Jun 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

From apex to shoreline: fluvio-deltaic architecture for the Holocene Rhine-Meuse delta, The Netherlands

Marc J. P. Gouw1 and Marc P. Hijma2 Marc J. P. Gouw and Marc P. Hijma
  • 1Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences, Department of Physical Geography, Heidelberglaan 2, P.O. Box 80115, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 2Deltares Research Institute, Department of Applied Geology and Geophysics, Princetonlaan 6-8, P.O. Box 85467, 3508 AL Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract. Despite extensive research on alluvial architecture, there is still a pressing need for data from modern fluvio-deltaic environments. Previous research in the fluvial-dominated proximal and central Rhine-Meuse delta (The Netherlands) has yielded clear spatial trends in alluvial architecture. In this paper, we include the backwater length to establish architectural trends from apex to shoreline. Channel-belt sand body width/thickness ratios and interconnectedness were determined and the proportions of fluvial channel-belt deposits, fluvial overbank deposits, organics and intertidal deposits were calculated for the complete fluvio-deltaic wedge, based on high-resolution geological cross-sections. It was found that the average width/thickness ratio of channel-belt sand bodies in the proximal delta is five times higher than in the distal delta. Other down-valley trends include an 80 %-decrease of the channel deposit proportion (CDP) and a near-constant proportion of overbank deposits. Additionally, interconnectedness in the proximal delta is three times higher than in the distal delta. Based on the Rhine-Meuse dataset, the authors propose a linear empirical function to model the spatial variability of CDP. It is argued that this relationship is driven by four key factors that change along stream: channel lateral-migration rate, channel-belt longevity, creation of accommodation space and inherited flood-plain width. Additionally, it is established that the sensitivity of CDP to changes in the ratio between channel-belt sand body width and flood-plain with, (normalised channel-belt sand body width) varies spatially and is greatest in the central and distal delta. Also, the proportion of fluvial channel-belt sands is generally an appropriate proxy for the total sand content of fluvio-deltaic successions, albeit that its suitability as a total-sand indicator rapidly fades in the distal delta. With this paper, unique high-resolution quantitative data and spatial trends on the alluvial architecture are available for an entire delta, hereby providing a dataset that can be used to further improve existing fluvial stratigraphy models.

Marc J. P. Gouw and Marc P. Hijma

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on esurf-2021-42', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Jul 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on esurf-2021-42', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 Sep 2021
  • EC1: 'Comment on esurf-2021-42', Daniel Parsons, 08 Sep 2021
  • AC1: 'Comment on esurf-2021-42', M. P. Hijma, 23 Sep 2021

Marc J. P. Gouw and Marc P. Hijma

Marc J. P. Gouw and Marc P. Hijma

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Short summary
If you would navigate an entire delta by boat, you would clearly see that the general characteristics of the channels change throughout the delta. These drivers behind these changes have been studied frequently. Field studies encompassing the entire delta are rare though, but give important insights into these drivers that help. other researchers. The most important drivers: channel lateral-migration rate, channel-belt longevity, creation of accommodation space and inherited flood-plain width.