Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface

Cover image for Vol. 120 Issue 6

Impact Factor: 3.426

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 19/175 (Geosciences Multidisciplinary)

Online ISSN: 2169-9011

Associated Title(s): Journal of Geophysical Research

How do braided river dynamics affect sediment storage?

Braided rivers, with their continuously changing network of channels, are highly dynamic systems. Four mechanisms of channel change and evolution are considered the classic mechanisms of braided river formation: development of central bars, conversion of single transverse bars to mid-channel braid bars, formation of chutes, and dissection of multiple-braid bars. There have been few studies on how each of these braiding mechanisms contributes to changes in sediment storage and to the dynamics of a river. In one of the first field studies on the topic, Wheaton et al. analyzed repeat topographic surveys conducted over a 5-year period of the River Feshie, an active, braided, gravel-bed river in the United Kingdom.

They found that collectively, the four classic braiding mechanisms accounted for most of the change in sediment storage. However, their results highlight the critical role that bank erosion and other non-braiding mechanisms play in facilitating net increases in sediment storage by braiding mechanisms through providing an important local supply of sediment to feed those braiding mechanisms and through creating accommodation space where central bars can develop.

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