skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Paola, C."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Successful management of flooding and erosion hazards on floodplains depends on our ability to predict a river channel's shape and the lifespan during which it will continue to flow. Recent progress has improved our understanding of what sets the lifespan and width of single‐thread channels; the next challenge is to extend this knowledge to braided channels and their interwoven sub‐channels (threads). In this study, we investigate the lifespan and width of braided channel threads in a large experimental data set, coupled with particle‐image velocimetry‐derived measurements of riverbank erosion and accretion. We find that, unlike single‐thread channels, braided channels in the experiment do not exhibit an equilibrium between bank erosion and accretion. Instead, bank erosion outpaces lateral accretion, causing individual threads to widen and infill until they are abandoned. Thread lifespan is limited to the time it takes for threads to triple their width: tripling of the width yields enough bank material to aggrade more than half the channel depth, at which point flow is rerouted to a narrower thread. In consequence the width of active threads is limited to three times their initial width. Threshold channel theory accurately predicts the median thread width, which is roughly double the initial width and two‐thirds the limiting width. The results are consistent with existing field data and suggest that differential bank migration is sufficient to explain why braided channels show greater width variability and higher width‐to‐depth ratios than their single‐thread counterparts.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Deltaic river networks naturally reorganize as interconnected channels move to redistribute water, sediment, and nutrients across the delta plain. Network change is documented in decades of satellite imagery and laboratory experiments, but our ability to measure and understand channel movements is limited: existing methods are difficult to employ efficiently and struggle to distinguish between gradual movements (channel migration) and abrupt shifts in river course (channel avulsions). Here, we present a method to extract channel migration from plan‐view imagery using particle image velocimetry (PIV). Although originally designed to track particles moving in a fluid, PIV can be adapted to track channels moving on the delta surface, based on input estimates of channel width, migration timescale, and maps of the wet‐dry interface. Results for a delta experiment show that PIV‐derived vector fields accurately capture channel‐bank movements, as compared to manually drawn maps and an independent image‐registration technique. Unlike other methods, PIV targets the process of channel migration, excluding changes associated with channel avulsions and overbank flow. PIV‐derived migration rates from the experiment span an order of magnitude and are reduced under lower sediment supply and during sea‐level rise, supporting recent models. Together, results indicate that PIV offers a fast and reliable way to measure channel migration in river networks, that channel migration rates under non‐cohesive conditions can displace channels a distance comparable to their width in the time needed to aggrade ∼10% of the channel depth, and that migration direction is ∼60% orthogonal to mean flow direction and ∼40% flow‐parallel overall.

    more » « less
  3. Quantitative interrogation of grain sizes in sedimentary systems has the potential to improve predictions of stratigraphic architecture, facies distributions, and downstream reservoir characteristics. To quantify these relationships, downstream fining data are coupled with rates of mass extraction, with input grain‐size distribution, accommodation, and sediment input from multiple transport pathways providing primary controls on resulting sediment dispersal patterns. We spatially apportioned mass distribution along three sediment delivery pathways with distinct accommodation characteristics within the Ganges‐Brahmaputra‐Meghna Delta to calculate chi (χ), the total fraction of supplied sediment flux lost to deposition at any given point. Low rates of downstream fining and sand‐rich channel facies characterize a bypass‐dominant pathway along the western margin of Sylhet basin, whereas two splay deposits that prograde into the underfilled basin interior exhibit higher rates of fining and preservation of mud‐rich facies. Both splay deposits show a shift from sand‐dominated to mixed sand and mud facies and increased mud preservation (above 30%) at aχvalue of ∼0.8. No comparable increase in mud preservation occurs along the bypass‐dominated pathway, suggesting that this course operated in an inherently different extraction mode due to limited mid‐Holocene accommodation. A similarity solution model effectively reproduces most of the spatial patterns of mass extraction observed in Sylhet basin, except in one location receiving lateral sediment input from a distributary channel. These field and modeling results indicate that grain‐size data and sediment volume measurements can be used to not only reconstruct paleodynamics of transport networks and resulting stratigraphy but also lead to predictive insights on subsurface heterogeneity, and thus improved reservoir and aquifer characterization.

    more » « less