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Particle transport in gravel-bed rivers: Revisiting passive tracer data

Abstract : Data from tracer experiments were compiled and analysed in order to explore the role of geomorphological, hydrological and sedimentological constraints on fluvial gravel transport in gravel-bed rivers. A large data set from 217 transport episodes of tagged stones were compiled from 33 scientific papers. Our analyses showed that while magnitude of peak discharge is a major control on gravel transport and mobility, tracer travel distances show some scale dependence on the morphological configuration of the channel. Our results also highlight differences in the way tracers are displaced between step-pool and riffle and pool channels. The riffle-pool sequence seems to be a more efficient trap for travelling gravels than the step-pool pair. In addition, in step-pool channels there are clear differences in tracer transport between observations of first displacements after tracer seeding (unconstrained-stone conditions), and second and subsequent observations of tracer displacements (constrained-stone conditions). The comparison between tracer experiments under constrained conditions and those under unconstrained conditions also highlights the importance of bed state and structures in gravel mobility. The results of this study confirm that sediment transport in gravel-bed rivers is a complex process, whereby sedimentological and geomorphological controls are superimposed on the hydraulic forcing.
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Submitted on : Saturday, May 16, 2020 - 7:34:17 PM
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D. Vázquez-Tarrío, A. Recking, F. Liébault, Michal Tal, R. Menendez-Duarte. Particle transport in gravel-bed rivers: Revisiting passive tracer data. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2019, 44 (1), pp.112-128. ⟨10.1002/esp.4484⟩. ⟨hal-02610293⟩



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