Effects of Land-Use and Precipitation Changes on Floodplain Sedimentation in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Geul River, The Netherlands)

  1. I. Peter Martini2,
  2. Victor R. Baker3 and
  3. Guillermina Garzón4
  1. M. H. Stam

Published Online: 17 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304299.ch14

Flood and Megaflood Processes and Deposits: Recent and Ancient Examples

Flood and Megaflood Processes and Deposits: Recent and Ancient Examples

How to Cite

Stam, M. H. (2002) Effects of Land-Use and Precipitation Changes on Floodplain Sedimentation in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Geul River, The Netherlands), in Flood and Megaflood Processes and Deposits: Recent and Ancient Examples (eds I. P. Martini, V. R. Baker and G. Garzón), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304299.ch14

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Land Resource Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

  2. 3

    Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721–0011, USA

  3. 4

    Dpto de Geodinámica, Fac. de Geología, Universidad of Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain

Author Information

  1. Faculty of Earth Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 10 FEB 2002

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632064045

Online ISBN: 9781444304299

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Keywords:

  • effects of land-use and precipitation changes on floodplain sedimentation in nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Geul River, The Netherlands);
  • the Geul River catchment;
  • the floodplain deposits;
  • sediment age determination;
  • flood deposits in relation to precipitation and land-use;
  • effects of land-use and precipitation on sedimentation

Summary

The effects of land-use change and precipitation variability on the flow regime and sedimentation rates of floodplain deposits were studied in the Geul River in the southern part of The Netherlands. The catchment hasa history of industrial mining, thus providing a means for dating the sediment. Several cut-bank sections were analysed for grain size, organic matter, Zn, Pb and 137Cs, and sedimentation rates were calculated for the periods 1806–1845, 1845–1885, 1885–1955 and 1955–1996. Sedimentation rates were high between 1806 and 1885, very low between 1885 and 1955, and high again between 1955 and 1996. Rates of channel change derived from the analysis of aerial photographs show an increase after 1949 and 1981.

Comparison with precipitation and land-use data indicates that the high sedimentation rates in the nineteenth century were caused by mining activities and deforestation, resulting in more floods in the low-magnitude-high-frequency range. The termination of industrial mining around 1885, subsequent reforestation, and the agricultural crisis of1878–1895 all contributed to the low river activity during the first half of the twentieth century. The modernization of agriculture and increased precipitation have contributed to an increase in sedimentation rate and channel-change rate during the second half of the twentieth century. Increased soil erosion associated with the modernization of agriculture is an important new source of sediment.