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Hydrologically driven modulation of cutoff regime in meandering rivers

Riccardo Maitan, Alvise Finotello, Davide Tognin, Andrea D'Alpaos, Christopher R. Fielding, Alessandro Ielpi and Massimiliano Ghinassi
Hydrologically driven modulation of cutoff regime in meandering rivers
Geology (Boulder) (February 2024) 52 (5): 336-340


Bend cutoff is a fundamental process shaping meandering rivers. Despite the widely accepted differentiation between neck and chute cutoffs, a significant knowledge gap persists regarding the factors responsible for the occurrence of each cutoff regime and the specific conditions triggering the regime. Here, we used field and photogrammetric data derived from a global set of 22 meandering rivers, stretching more than 5500 km in total river length, to disentangle the controlling factors behind the cutoff regime in meandering rivers. We found that whether a meandering river forms a chute rather than neck meander cutoff depends primarily on the variability of overbank discharges. Short-lived, high-magnitude overbank floods promote the formation of chute cutoffs, aided by (though not required) reduced riparian vegetation density, enhanced stream power, and flow confinement within the river valley. In contrast, neck cutoffs are prevalent in rivers characterized by limited variations in bankfull hydrology, typically associated with low-magnitude, long-lasting overbank floods. Distinct cutoff regimes also discernibly affected floodplain geomorphology, with a chute regime resulting in more frequent cutoff occurrences. Our results suggest that human-induced alterations of river hydrologic regime can potentially cause fundamental shifts in the cutoff behavior of meandering rivers, thus affecting sediment residence time and carbon fluxes in alluvial floodplains.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 52
Serial Issue: 5
Title: Hydrologically driven modulation of cutoff regime in meandering rivers
Affiliation: University of Padova, Department of Geosciences, Padova, Italy
Pages: 336-340
Published: 20240214
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 35
Accession Number: 2024-025051
Categories: Geomorphology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
Secondary Affiliation: University of Connecticut, USA, United StatesUniversity of British Columbia, CAN, Canada
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2024, 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: 202415
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