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Title: Controls of local grain size distribution, bed structure and flow conditions on sediment mobility
Abstract

Steep, boulder bed streams often contain sediment patches, which are areas of the bed with relatively well‐defined boundaries that are occupied by distinct grain size distributions (GSD). In sediment mixtures, the underlying GSD affects the critical Shields stress for a given grain size, which is commonly predicted using hiding functions. Hiding functions may vary with reach‐wide bed GSD, but the effect of local GSD on relative sediment mobility between sediment patches is poorly understood. We explore the effects of patch‐scale GSD on sediment mobility using tracer particles combined with local shear stresses to develop hiding functions for different patch classes within a steep stream. Hiding functions for all tested patch classes were similar, which indicates that the same hiding function can be used for different patches. However, the critical Shields stress for a given grain size generally decreased with lower patch median grain size (D50) suggesting that patches control the relative mobility of each size through both the underlying GSD and local shear stresses. The effects of the underlying GSD partly depend on grain protrusion, which we measured for all grain sizes present on each patch class. Protrusion was generally greater for larger grains regardless of patch class, but for a given grain size, protrusion was increased with smaller patchD50. For a given grain size, higher protrusion results in greater applied fluid forces and reduced resisting forces to partly explain our lower critical Shields stresses in finer patches. Patches therefore can importantly modulate relative sediment mobility through bed structure and may need to be included in reach‐scale sediment transport and channel stability estimates.

 
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NSF-PAR ID:
10411862
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
Volume:
48
Issue:
10
ISSN:
0197-9337
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 1990-2004
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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