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Predicting delta avulsions; implications for coastal wetland restoration

Douglas A. Edmonds, David C. J. D. Hoyal, Ben A. Sheets and Rudy L. Slingerland
Predicting delta avulsions; implications for coastal wetland restoration
Geology (Boulder) (August 2009) 37 (8): 759-762


River deltas create new wetlands through a continuous cycle of delta lobe extension, avulsion, and abandonment, but the mechanics and timing of this cycle are poorly understood. Here we use physical experiments to quantitatively define one type of cycle for river-dominated deltas. The cycle begins as a distributary channel and its river mouth bar prograde basinward. Eventually the mouth bar reaches a critical size and stops prograding. The stagnated mouth bar triggers a wave of bed aggradation that moves upstream and increases overbank flows and bed shear stresses on the levees. An avulsion occurs as a time-dependent failure of the levee, where the largest average bed shear stress has been applied for the longest time (R (super 2) =0.93). These results provide a guide for predicting the growth of intradelta lobes, which can be used to engineer the creation of new wetlands within the delta channel network and improve stratigraphic models of deltas.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 37
Serial Issue: 8
Title: Predicting delta avulsions; implications for coastal wetland restoration
Affiliation: Pennsylvania State University, Department of Geosciences, University Park, PA, United States
Pages: 759-762
Published: 200908
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 21
Accession Number: 2009-072374
Categories: GeomorphologyHydrogeology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: With GSA Data Repository Item 2009182
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
N29°00'00" - N33°00'00", W94°04'60" - W89°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Exxon Mobil Upstream Research Company, USA, United StatesUniversity of Washington, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200939
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