21 Jul 2021

21 Jul 2021

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

Morphodynamic styles: characterising the behaviour of gravel-bed rivers using a novel, quantitative index

William H. Booker and Brett C. Eaton William H. Booker and Brett C. Eaton
  • Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Abstract. The assessment of channels widely focusses on using channel form to identify channel character, but fail to capture the more nuanced variations of morphodynamics without the analysis of process. This paper presents a method using an index of channel behaviour, the throughput ratio (ζ), which is calculated from morphologic change and sediment transport, and explores the viability of inferring process from channel form to act as an indicator of channel behaviour. Two experiments using the same initial width, slope, discharge and grain size were used to demonstrate the effectiveness of this method in representing different morphodynamics. In one experiment the channel was allowed to laterally deform, whilst the other had unerodible elements placed at its boundaries. As a result the experiment with mobile banks widened and reduced sediment transport to zero, whereas the fixed bank experiment— unable to decrease its shear stress— continued to output material. In both, the rate of morphologic change tended to zero despite their marked differences in sediment transport over time. The differences in evolution are due to the differences in process available to each channel despite a starting similarity in bed mobility and their gross similarity in a meandering planform. The throughput ratio allows new representations of the temporal and spatial patterns of the morphodynamics, providing additional measures with which to analyse the processes acting in river channels.

William H. Booker and Brett C. Eaton

Status: open (until 30 Sep 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

William H. Booker and Brett C. Eaton

Model code and software

WillBooker/WB_BC_ESurf_2021: Initial code and data submission William H. Booker

William H. Booker and Brett C. Eaton


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Short summary
Channel behaviour is a qualitative aspect of river research that needs development to produce a framework of analysis between and within types of channels. We seek to produce a quantitative metric that can describe how a channel changes using a pair of experiments and collecting easy to obtain data. We demonstrate that this new technique is capable of discerning between river types and may provide a new perspective on channel behaviour.