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Sediment transport and morphological response of a semi-alluvial channel : insights from a Froude scaled laboratory model Luzi, David Steven

Abstract

Laboratory physical models have been used in geomorphology for over a century. Physical models are a useful tool for understanding and observing phenomenon that are difficult or impossible to observe in the field. The objective of this study was to understand the long-term evolution of a semi-alluvial channel in terms of its morphology and sediment transport under various scenarios of constant sediment supply and discharge. Specifically, the research aimed to investigate (1) effects of various flows and sediment feed rates on surface textures and sediment output, (2) relationship between channel storage, and the (3) morphology and sediment transport sediment transport processes and pathways. These objectives were addressed by building a Froude scaled physical model based on the irregular meandering planform of Fishtrap Creek, and conducting ten experiments of varying temporal lengths, discharge and feed rates. The model successfully replicated pool-riffle and plane-bed morphologies. The effects on the characteristics of the bed surface and transported sediment under differing regimes of discharge and sediment feed were investigated. Scaled formative flows ranging from 2-yr to over 150-yr return period events were employed. The results indicated that even with discharges exceeding the 10-yr event, full mobility was not observed. This slight but persistent size-selectivity produced long-term aggradation and surface coarsening. The effects of varying sediment supply and discharge in channel storage and morphology were explored. Results showed that sediment transport rates varied both spatially and temporally. The variability was more dependent upon changes in channel morphology than adjustments in the grain size distribution of the surface. Cycles of aggradation-degradation were observed to occur without changes in sediment supply of discharge and that they tended to occur in periods when sediment output approximately equaled sediment feed rates. Lastly, one experiment was selected to describe sediment transport processes and pathways. Primary information regarding sediment pathways was obtained through the observation of bedload sheet movement and migration during the experiments, as well as through subsequent review of videos made during the experiments. The behaviour of bedload sheets also shed new information on how sediment sorting through a pool varies.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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