Suspended sediment properties and suspended sediment flux estimates in an inundated urban environment during a major flood event


Corresponding author: H. Chanson, School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia. (


[1] During a major flood event, the inundation of urban environments leads to some complicated flow motion most often associated with significant sediment fluxes. In the present study, a series of field measurements were conducted in an inundated section of the City of Brisbane (Australia) about the peak of a major flood in January 2011. Some experiments were performed to use ADV backscatter amplitude as a surrogate estimate of the suspended sediment concentration (SSC) during the flood event. The flood water deposit samples were predominantly silty material with a median particle size about 25 μm and they exhibited a non-Newtonian behavior under rheological testing. In the inundated urban environment during the flood, estimates of suspended sediment concentration presented a general trend with increasing SSC for decreasing water depth. The suspended sediment flux data showed some substantial sediment flux amplitudes consistent with the murky appearance of floodwaters. Altogether the results highlighted the large suspended sediment loads and fluctuations in the inundated urban setting associated possibly with a non-Newtonian behavior. During the receding flood, some unusual long-period oscillations were observed (periods about 18 min), although the cause of these oscillations remains unknown. The field deployment was conducted in challenging conditions highlighting a number of practical issues during a natural disaster.