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Bed forms in bimodal sand–gravel sediments: laboratory and field analysis



Bed forms were studied in Goodwin Creek and a laboratory flume channel. The bed sediment of the field site and flume had median diameters of 8·3 (modes of 0·4, 22·6 mm) and 1·82 mm (modes of 0·5, 5·6 mm), respectively. The laboratory and field channels had similar values of bimodal parameters, ratios of flow depth to median bed material diameter, and ratios of shear stress to critical shear stress and were judged to be comparable in the transport of bed load sediment and the resulting bed forms. Three groupings of bed forms from the laboratory flume experiments (ripple-like bed forms, bed load sheets, low-relief bed waves) were identified using the height and period of the bed forms. For the range of flow depths and discharges investigated in the flume, bed forms became higher and longer with increasing bed shear stress. Bed forms from Goodwin Creek were similar to those from the flume with comparable ratios between bed form length, height, and flow depth. The bed forms in the flume provide a positive link between rate and size fluctuations measured in the field and the bed forms. The smaller bed forms identified were sediment starved and are not considered to be dunes, while the largest bed forms in which all of the bed material sizes were mobilized in the field and laboratory were judged to be dunes.