Hyporheic flow under periodic bed forms influenced by low-density gradients

Authors

  • Guangqiu Jin,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
    2. Centre for Eco-Environment Modelling, College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
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  • Hongwu Tang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
    2. Centre for Eco-Environment Modelling, College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
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  • Ling Li,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
    2. National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • D. A. Barry

    1. Laboratoire de Technologie Écologique, Institut d'Ingénierie de l'Environnement, Faculté de l'Environnement Naturel, Architectural et Construit, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
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Abstract

[1] Small density variations across streambeds due to low solute concentrations in stream water exist commonly in streams and rivers. Using laboratory experiments and numerical modeling, we demonstrated that even small density variations can influence hyporheic flow in streambeds with periodic bed forms. The circulating pore water flow patterns in the bed were modified constantly as the solute front moved downward. Density-induced head gradients eventually overwhelmed the regional hydraulic gradient and drove the circulating flow below a hydraulic divide that would have existed without the density influence. The density-modified hyporheic flow provided a relatively fast solute transport mechanism and enhanced the overall mass exchange between the stream and bed. These results highlight the important role of weak, upward density gradients in modulating hyporheic flow.

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