Sediment budgeting techniques in gravel-bed rivers
The difficulties in obtaining reliable sediment transfer data from direct field measurement or from sediment transport formulae are widely recognized by geomorphologists and river engineers. Quantifying morphological changes (erosion and deposition) in rivers by the analysis of archive data or by field survey, however, can overcome many of these difficulties and provide a mechanism by which sediment budgets can be calculated over a variety of spatial and temporal scales. This paper applies three sediment budgeting methods based on morphological changes in a hypothetical braided reach. These methods range from a simple two-dimensional planform budget to more sophisticated three-dimensional cross-profile and morphological budgets. The development of each budget technique is described and the limitations and applicability of each identified. The three methods are then used to calculated sediment transfer rates in a multi-thread reach on the River Severn in mid-Wales, UK. Results show that across four budget periods spanning 2.5 years the reach was a net exporter of sediment. Application of the planform budget to eight time periods since 1836 shows a similar pattern of net sediment export in the nineteenth century, but during the majority of the twentieth century the reach was a net sediment sink. Finally, the applicability of applying budgeting techniques to extended centennial and millennial timescales is discussed and an assessment made of the role they might play in advancing our understanding of Holocene river dynamics and informing sustainable river management practices.
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There is an increasing trend in the Earth sciences towards the integration of many subdisciplines. The sedimendatry basin, is a fundamental focal point of many studies, which as a consequence often neglects the complimentary drainage basin or catchment. Sedimentary basins provide a record of Earth history, reflecting the geographical, lithological, oceanographic and ecological development through the rock record. Drainage basins in comparison record ephemeral landscape evolution, where topography is eroded and provides the flux of sediment to the basin. The basin fill reflects the sediment flux from the hinterland and provides evidence of the dynamic geomorphic processes. In context the drainage system and sedimentary basin can be regarded as a ‘production line’ with sedimentary record giving valuable insight into long-term landscape evolution and geomorphological processes illuminating the evolution of sedimentary basins.
This volume assesses the current position of understanding sediment supply to basins with the integration of the many sub-disciplines in the Earth sciences. It documents a mix of hinterland and sedimentary basin studies with a gradation from orogenic belts to the deep marine. The authors represent a wide spectrum of Earth scientist, with leaders in the science providing review papers and new-directive papers in their field of specialization.