A simple one-dimensional model is developed to quantitatively predict the change in elevation, over a period of decades, for vertically accreting floodplains. This unsteady model approximates the monotonic growth of a floodplain as an incremental but constant increase of net sediment deposition per flood for those floods of a partial duration series that exceed a threshold discharge corresponding to the elevation of the floodplain. Sediment deposition from each flood increases the elevation of the floodplain and consequently the magnitude of the threshold discharge resulting in a decrease in the number of floods and growth rate of the floodplain. Floodplain growth curves predicted by this model are compared to empirical growth curves based on dendrochronology and to direct field measurements at five floodplain sites. The model was used to predict the value of net sediment deposition per flood which best fits (in a least squares sense) the empirical and field measurements; these values fall within the range of independent estimates of the net sediment deposition per flood based on empirical equations. These empirical equations permit the application of the model to estimate of floodplain growth for other floodplains throughout the world which do not have detailed data of sediment deposition during individual floods. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.
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Quantitative model of the growth of floodplains by vertical accretion