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Field calibration of sediment flux dependent river incision

Hobley, Daniel E. J., Sinclair, Hugh D., Mudd, Simon M. and Cowie, Patience A. 2011. Field calibration of sediment flux dependent river incision. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 116 (F4) , F04017. 10.1029/2010JF001935

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Bed erosion and sediment transport are ubiquitous and linked processes in rivers. Erosion can either be modeled as a “detachment limited” function of the shear stress exerted by the flow on the bed, or as a “transport limited” function of the sediment flux capacity of the flow. These two models predict similar channel profiles when erosion rates are constant in space in time, but starkly contrasting behavior in transient settings. Traditionally detachment limited models have been used for bedrock rivers, whereas transport limited models have been used in alluvial settings. In this study we demonstrate that rivers incising into a substrate of loose, but very poorly sorted relict glacial sediment behave in a detachment limited manner. We then develop a methodology by which to both test the appropriate incision model and constrain its form. Specifically we are able to tightly constrain how incision rates vary as a function of the ratio between sediment flux and sediment transport capacity in three rivers responding to deglaciation in the Ladakh Himalaya, northwest India. This represents the first field test of the so-called “tools and cover” effect along individual rivers.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Wiley
Funders: National Environmental Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 January 2018
Date of Acceptance: 24 August 2011
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2018 14:11

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