Factors controlling floodplain sediment storage in two tropical upland river catchments in the Lake Tana basin, Ethiopia - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles CATENA Year : 2022

Factors controlling floodplain sediment storage in two tropical upland river catchments in the Lake Tana basin, Ethiopia

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Abstract

Floodplain sediment storage is an important component of a catchment’s sediment budget. Here, we present the first quantification of floodplain sediment storage for tropical river catchments draining to Lake Tana, NW Ethiopia. The catchments are characterized by relatively gently sloping to flat lowlands towards the lake (1788 m a.s.l.) and steeper river reaches in the uplands towards Mount Guna (4120 m a.s.l.). Sediment storage for 65 homogeneous floodplain segments was estimated by combining information on floodplain spatial extent obtained through the field- and remote sensing-based approaches, with information on sediment thickness obtained through sediment coring and the analysis of river cut-banks. Extrapolation to the entire catchment was done making use of floodplain typology and following the classification scheme of Nanson and Croke (1992) and other floodplain properties and catchment-wide variables. The results showed average sediment storage of 284 Mg m−1 river length or 21,760 Mg ha−1 floodplain area for the Gumara and approx. 227 Mg m−1 river length or 16,909 Mg ha−1 floodplain area for the Rib River catchments. Total floodplain sediment storage at the catchments scale, above the upper gauging stations, amounts to 92.9 Mt and 35.5 Mt for the Gumara and Rib River catchments, respectively. At the scale of homogeneous floodplain segments, sediment storage is related to floodplain width, floodplain slope, upstream catchment area, the average slope of the upstream catchment area, sinuosity, and floodplain type. Overall, floodplain geomorphology largely controls sediment storage. Approx. 70 % of the sediment is stored in low-energy cohesive floodplains which only take up 11 % of the total river length in both catchments. For most of the total river and valley extent, where rivers are incised and have more energy, storage is limited. Comparing our findings with similar studies in temperate catchments of Europe and N-America showed that sediment storage in the Gumara and Rib Rivers is lower by approx. 1 order of magnitude, for similar-sized catchments.
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Dates and versions

hal-03927474 , version 1 (06-01-2023)

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Girma Worku Awoke, Jef Brees, Karen Vancampenhout, Enyew Adgo, Mengiste Abate, et al.. Factors controlling floodplain sediment storage in two tropical upland river catchments in the Lake Tana basin, Ethiopia. CATENA, 2022, 219, pp.106573. ⟨10.1016/j.catena.2022.106573⟩. ⟨hal-03927474⟩
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