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Abstract

The width (w) depth (d), meander wavelength (l), gradient (s), shape (w/d), and sinuosity (P) of stable alluvial river channels are dependent on the volume of water moving through the channel (Qw) and the type of sediment load conveyed through the channel (Qs).

 
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Empirical equations developed from data collected along modern alluvial rivers permit calculation of the effects of changes of hydrologic regimen (Qw, Qs) on channel morphology. Conversely, these relations permit estimation of paleochannel gradient, meander wavelength, sinuosity, and discharge from the dimensions of the paleochannel as exposed in cross section.

The recognition of paleochannels within valley-fill or other complex fluvial deposits is a major problem, but criteria for the delineation of paleochannel cross-sectional shape and dimensions have been developed from studies of shapes and sediment characteristics of Australian paleochannels.

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