Dune Growth, Decay and Migration Rates during a Large-Magnitude Flood at a Sand and Mixed Sand–Gravel Bed in the Dutch Rhine River System

  1. N. D. Smith3 and
  2. J. Rogers4
  1. W. B. M. Ten Brinke1,
  2. A. W. E. Wilbers2 and
  3. C. Wesseling2

Published Online: 17 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304213.ch2

Fluvial Sedimentology VI

Fluvial Sedimentology VI

How to Cite

Ten Brinke, W. B. M., Wilbers, A. W. E. and Wesseling, C. (1999) Dune Growth, Decay and Migration Rates during a Large-Magnitude Flood at a Sand and Mixed Sand–Gravel Bed in the Dutch Rhine River System, in Fluvial Sedimentology VI (eds N. D. Smith and J. Rogers), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304213.ch2

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Department of Geosciences, 214 Bessey Hall, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588-0340, USA

  2. 4

    Cape Town, South Africa

Author Information

  1. 1

    National Institute for Inland Water Management and Waste Water Treatment (RIZA), P.O. Box 9072, 6800 ED Arnhem, The Netherlands

  2. 2

    Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80115, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 7 OCT 1999

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632053544

Online ISBN: 9781444304213



  • dune growth, decay and migration rates at sand and mixed sand–gravel bed in Dutch Rhine river system;
  • dune growth, decay and migration rates;
  • dune propagation and bedload transport;
  • bed material sediment transport in Waal;
  • highest Rhine discharges for each year;
  • principles of dune tracking;
  • River Rhine originating in Alps and flowing through Switzerland and Germany to The Netherlands;
  • dune tracking using GIS-based software;
  • dune pattern and planform and dune migration


During February–March 1997, measurements were carried out on the growth and decay of bedforms in the Rivers Rhine and Waal throughout an entire flood. During the rise, peak and fall of the flood, detailed echosoundings were made of two sections: one section upstream where the Rhine divides into the Waal and the Pannerdensch Kanaal and the river bed is a mixture of sand and gravel, and one section in the sandy part some 30 km downstream. These echosoundings were made on a daily basis. The soundings in the upstream section were made using a single-beam echosounder. In the downstream section both a single- and a multibeam echosounder were used. From this time series of echosoundings, bedform dynamics throughout the flood were quantified. These results aim to quantify bedload sediment transport from the day-to-day migration of bedforms daily (dune tracking).

The results show very clearly the growth, decay and migration rates of dunes on the river bed. These dunes covered most of the bed for a couple of days before and after peak discharge at the sand–gravel-bed section, and for the entire period of echosoundings at the sand-bed section. The dunes in the sandy part of the river were much longer and higher than those upstream. Dunes kept growing even after the water level dropped; daily average dune height and dune length in the sand-bed section were up to 1.2 m and 52–59 m, respectively, with smaller dunes of some 50 cm height and 15 m length superposed on the large ones. Dunes at the sand–gravel-bed section were generally 20–60 cm high and 10–15 m long. At the sand-bed section dune patterns were very similar from day to day, enabling the use of correlation techniques to quantify dune migration rates. At the sand–gravel-bed section, however, the migration rate of the dunes was too fast for the same dunes to be recognized from day to day. Bedload sediment transport at the sand-bed section, like the dune properties, showed hysteresis when plotted versus discharge. Bedload transport was highest before the discharge peak.