Predicting the response of natural or man-made channels to imposed supplies of water and sediment is one of the difficult practical problems commonly addressed by fluvial geomorphologists. This problem typically arises in three situations. In the first situation, geomorphologists are attempting to understand why a channel or class of channels has a certain general form; in a sense, this is the central goal of fluvial geomorphology. In the second situation, geomorphologists are trying to understand and explain how and why a specific channel will evolve or has evolved in response to altered or unusual sediment and water supplies to that channel. For example, this would include explaining the short-term response of a channel to an unusually large flood or predicting the response of a channel to long-term changes in flow or sediment supply due to various human activities such as damming or diversions. Finally, geomorphologists may be called upon to design or assess the design of proposed man-made channels that must carry a certain range of flows and sediment loads in a stable or at least quasi-stable manner. In each of these three situations, the problem is really the same: geomorphologists must understand and predict the interaction of the flow field in the channel, the sediment movement in the channel and the geometry of the channel bed and banks. In general, the flow field, the movement of sediment making up the bed and the morphology of the bed are intricately linked; the flow moves the sediment, the bed is altered by erosion and deposition of sediment and the shape of the bed is critically important for predicting the flow. This complex linkage is precisely what makes understanding channel form and process such a difficult and interesting challenge.
Additional publication details
|Publication type||Book chapter|
|Publication Subtype||Book Chapter|
|Title||Modeling flow, sediment transport and morphodynamics in rivers|
|Contributing office(s)||National Research Program - Central Branch|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|