Abstract

An abandoned meander preserved in toto in the Harold Sandstone of the Breathitt Formation allows 1) accurate determination of primary input variables in paleomorphology calculations, namely channel bankfull width, depth, and cross-sectional area, and 2) evaluation of established methodologies. The continuity equation Q -- = A V -- is used to calculate an average bankfull discharge, Q --. Bankfull cross-sectional area, A, is accurately reconstructed from an abandoned meander channel and V -- is calculated from Middleton's (1976) "criterion for suspension". Close agreement exists among values of Q -- calculated from the continuity equation and several independent regression equations developed by Schumm (1972) for modern, fluvial environments. Estimates of stream length and drainage basin size are consistent with paleogeographic reconstructions of the Southern Appalachians during Middle Pennsylvanian time. When compared to measured outcrop parameters empirical equations which employ M, the sediment load parameter, are consistently better estimators of paleomorphology and paleohydrology than empirical equations without M, provided that diagenesis does not obscure the original percent of silt-clay in the channel alluvium.--Modified journal abstract.

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