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Sediment Transport in Glacial Meltwater Streams

By
Gunnar Østrem
Gunnar Østrem
Norwegian Water Resources and Electricity Board Oslo 3 Norway and Department of Physical Geography University of Stockholm Sweden
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Published:
January 01, 1975

Abstract

Glacierized areas in Norway are being considered for future hydro-electric power production due to favorable hydrologic conditions; these include high specific water yield at high altitudes and at relatively short distances from tide water. However, technical problems can be expected in utilization of sedimentladen water, particularly in reservoirs and in the turbines. A study program of sediment transport and deposition was therefore initiated, and some of the major results are given in this paper.

Suspended-sediment transport was determined at five selected glaciers by frequent water sampling, at least five samples being taken daily. Sediment concentration ranged from tens of milligrams per liter to several grams per liter, and rapid variations were experienced, particularly in periods of increasing water discharge. No simple correlation was found between water discharge and suspended sediment load but, in general, years of low total water discharge gave less sediment transport than years of high total discharge.

Bed load was determined at one glacier (Nigardsbreen outlet glacier from the Jostedalsbreen Ice Cap) by trapping all coarse material in a large, strong fence built across the river. The bed load accounted for 30 to 50 percent of the total transport of solid matter, as measured close to the glacier terminus. The rate of sedimentation in a natural lake close to a glacier was established both as a difference between sediment input and output and by a study of older deposits on the lake bottom. Annual layers (varves) were easily recognized and studies were made of their grain size and mineral composition. “Winter" layers had finer grains, more mica and less quartz than "summer” layers. A great part (70 percent or more) of the suspended-sediment input into the lake settled on its bottom, and the remainder that left the lake consisted mainly of the finest grain size fractions.

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Contents

SEPM Special Publication

Glaciofluvial and Glaciolacustrine Sedimentation

Alan V. Jopling
Alan V. Jopling
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;
Barrie C. McDonald
Barrie C. McDonald
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
23
ISBN electronic:
9781565761537
Publication date:
January 01, 1975

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