The relationship of channel planform and point bar architecture on a reach of the Wabash River near Grayville, Illinois

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The erosional and depositional characteristics of meandering rivers lead to the formation and maintenance of point bars along the inner banks of meander bends. Point bars are composed of sediment layers in patterns resulting from the rate and style of channel migration, hydrodynamics, and sediment transport and deposition within the river system (e.g. Jackson, 1976; Dietrich and Smith, 1984; Dietrich, 1987, Abad and Garcia, 2009). The distribution of the sediments preserved in the internal architecture of a river point bar provides a record of channel planform evolution. Geophysical methods are used to gain a large-scale visualization of the subsurface and aid in the interpretation of historic channel patterns (Best et al., 2003; Woodward et al., 2003; Sambrook Smith et al., 2006). Comparing known surficial extents of the point bar to features identified in the subsurface can also enhance the understanding of historic channel planform. This study investigates two point bars along bends with different styles of migration, Maier and TB3, in a well-documented reach of the Wabash River near Grayville, IL. Evidence from historic aerial photography, modern lidar, photogrammetry, and geophysical surveys were used to determine the relationship between the point bar architecture and channel planform. Airborne lidar was flown in 2011 and is used to create the 2011 point bar surface. In 2017, a terrestrial lidar and Real Time Kinematic-Global Navigation Satellite System (RTK-GNSS) topographic survey were combined to create the surface for TB3. In 2018, a photogrammetric survey collected with a small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) was used to create a structure-frommotion (SfM) derived surface for Maier bend. The 2018 survey-based point bar surfaces were differenced from the 2011 point bar surfaces to get a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of difference (DoD) to visualize areas of erosion and deposition. In addition, geophysical surveys using ground penetrating radar (GPR) were conducted in transverse and streamwise lines across the point bars in 2018. Elevation profiles from the 2011 point bar surfaces are extracted and overlain onto the 2018 GPR images to determine how the point bar is preserving the structure of sediments previously deposited. Results from this study provide an update to current models of point bar architecture.

Study Area

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title The relationship of channel planform and point bar architecture on a reach of the Wabash River near Grayville, Illinois
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Federal Interagency Subcommittee on Sedimentation (SOS)
Contributing office(s) Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Proceedings of SEDHYD 19
Conference Title SEDHYD 2019 Conference
Conference Location Reno NV
Conference Date June 24-28, 2019
Country United States
State Illinois
City Grayville
Other Geospatial Wabash River
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