Hello guest! [ Log In ]
View Geologic Publication Information

Geologic Publications for Mount Rainier

Simulated dynamics of mixed versus uniform grain size sediment pulses in a gravel-bedded river

[ back to previous page ]

Author(s): Muneer Ahammad, Jonathan A. Czuba, Allison M. Pfeiffer, Brendan P. Murphy, Patrick Belmont

Document Type:
Publisher: JGR Earth Surface
Published Year: 2021
Volume: 126
Number: 10
Pages: 23
DOI Identifier: 10.1029/2021JF006194
ISBN Identifier:

Mountain rivers often receive sediment in the form of episodic, discrete pulses from a variety of natural and anthropogenic processes. Once emplaced in the river, the movement of this sediment depends on flow, grain size distribution, and channel and network geometry. Here, we simulate downstream bed elevation changes that result from discrete inputs of sediment (∼10,000 m3), differing in volume and grain size distribution, under medium and high flow conditions. We specifically focus on comparing bed responses between mixed and uniform grain size sediment pulses. This work builds on a Lagrangian, bed-material sediment transport model and applies it to a 27 km reach of the mainstem Nisqually River, Washington, USA. We compare observed bed elevation change and accumulation rates in a downstream lake to simulation results. Then we investigate the magnitude, timing, and persistence of downstream changes due to the introduction of synthetic sediment pulses by comparing the results against a baseline condition (without pulse). Our findings suggest that bed response is primarily influenced by the sediment-pulse grain size and distribution. Intermediate mixed-size pulses (∼50% of the median bed gravel size) are likely to have the largest downstream impact because finer sizes translate quickly and coarser sizes (median bed gravel size and larger) disperse slowly. Furthermore, a mixed-size pulse, with a smaller median grain size than the bed, increases bed mobility more than a uniform-size pulse. This work has important implications for river management, as it allows us to better understand fluvial geomorphic responses to variations in sediment supply.

View Report:
View Report (5.41M)

Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Ahammad and others (2021) or (Ahammad et al., 2021)

References Citation:
Ahammad, M., J.A. Czuba, A.M. Pfeiffer, B.P. Murphy, and P. Belmont, 2021, Simulated dynamics of mixed versus uniform grain size sediment pulses in a gravel-bedded river: JGR Earth Surface, Vol. 126, No. 10, 23 p., doi: 10.1029/2021JF006194.