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Self-organized criticality in river basins; challenging sedimentary records of environmental change

Marco J. van de Wiel and Tom J. Coulthard
Self-organized criticality in river basins; challenging sedimentary records of environmental change
Geology (Boulder) (January 2010) 38 (1): 87-90

Abstract

For many years researchers have linked increases in sediment and bedload from drainage basins to external factors such as increased rainfall. However, natural systems have always shown a high degree of scatter or nonlinearity in this response, which has made prediction of sediment yields difficult. We identify and describe a mechanism for self-organized criticality in the bedload sediment output from a simple drainage basin evolution model. This implies that identical floods will give considerably different sediment yields, which effectively renders the system unpredictable. Therefore, existing empirical methods for estimating sediment yields may need to be radically reevaluated. Furthermore, sedimentary records used to infer past climate or environmental conditions could simply reflect the internal system dynamics instead of external drivers.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 38
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Self-organized criticality in river basins; challenging sedimentary records of environmental change
Affiliation: University of Western Ontario, Department of Geography, London, ON, Canada
Pages: 87-90
Published: 201001
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 23
Accession Number: 2010-019101
Categories: HydrogeologyGeomorphology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus.
Secondary Affiliation: University of Hull, GBR, United Kingdom
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: 201012
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