Research Spotlight: Laboratory experiments help to better define stream erosion and deposition


  • Mohi Kumar,

  • Ernie Tretkoff


Streams and rivers, through eroding banks and depositing sediment, are primary agents of change to Earth' landscapes. At a fundamental level, such erosion and deposition are dependent on bed load transport—the motion of particles rolling, sliding, or traveling in a succession of slow jumps, or saltations, along the bed of a stream. Bed load transport governs processes such as river bed morphology and the rate at which a river incises relief. Yet despite the importance of bed load transport, little is known about the physics behind erosion and deposition at the grain scale.