Abstract

Channel migration and meander-bend morphology are examined for the lower Mississippi River between 1877 and 1924, prior to channel cutoffs, revetments, and change in sediment regime. The spatial pattern of meander-bend migration coincides with differences in flood-plain deposits. Migration of meander bends averaged 45.2 m/yr in the upper alluvial valley, where there are numerous clay plugs, but increased to 59.1 m/yr in the lower alluvial valley, where there are fewer clay plugs in contact with the channel. The highest migration rates occurred with meander bends having a curvature, rm/Wm (ratio between meander-bend radius to channel width) between 1.0 and 2.0, which is a departure from previous models. Results from this study suggest that rivers with complex flood-plain deposits exhibit patterns and relationships that deviate from models derived in homogeneous flood-plain deposits.

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