Sediment-sorting processes related to varying channel-bed morphology were investigated from April to November 1993 along a 1-km pool-riffle and step-pool reach of North Saint Vrain Creek, a small mountain stream in the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado. Measured cross-sectional areas of flow were used to suggest higher velocities in pools than in riffles at high flow. Three hundred and sixteen tracer particles, ranging in size from 16 mm to 256 mm, were placed in two separate pool-riffle-pool sequences and used to assess sediment-sorting patterns and sediment-transport competence variations. Tracer-particle depositional evidence indicated higher sediment-transport competence in pools than in riffles at high flow. Pool-riffle sediment sorting may be created by velocity reversals, and more localized sorting results from gravitational forces along the upstream sloping portion of the channel bed located at the downstream end of pools.
Additional publication details
A revised velocity-reversal and sediment-sorting model for a high-gradient, pool-riffle stream