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The effects of kinetic sorting on sediment mobility on steep slopes: GRAIN SORTING ON STEEP SLOPES

Abstract : In poorly mobile static armour, sorting is usually considered the result of hiding/exposure effects.We called this effect "static sorting" in opposition to very efficient grain-to-grain mechanisms produced by a mobile mixture, called "kinetic sorting". We hypothesized that kinetic sorting can be an important contributor to the morphodynamics of mountain streams and attempted to demonstrate this with new flume experiments. Two long runs were produced with natural poorly sorted sediments, and with transport stages of the coarse fraction (defined by the ratio between the shear stress and the critical shear stress for transport), smaller and higher than 1, respectively. Both runs produced an efficient transfer downstream of the injected material, but with a major difference: the first run (no kinetic sorting) produced permanent armour figuring clusters, akin to what has already been observed in similar experiments; the second run (with kinetic sorting) also produced bed armouring, but this armour was periodically totally destroyed, leading to substantial bed erosion. This phenomenon was explained by kinetic sorting, the effects of which are to produce an efficient downward migration of fine materials and bed surface armouring. The consequence is that fine materials are hidden to the flow during aggradation, allowing the slope to attain values much steeper than would have been expected at equilibrium for the mixture. However, whereas the surface armouring tends to stabilize the bed, construction of a layer of fine sediments at the subsurface also contributes to making it very unstable. These two contradictory effects explain the complex bed behaviours and the existence of very large bedload and slope fluctuations.
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Contributor : Frédérique Bordignon Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 9:09:19 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 15, 2022 - 10:58:34 AM

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Vito Bacchi, Alain Recking, Nicolas Eckert, Philippe Frey, Guillaume Piton, et al.. The effects of kinetic sorting on sediment mobility on steep slopes: GRAIN SORTING ON STEEP SLOPES. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2014, 39 (8), pp.1075-1086. ⟨10.1002/esp.3564⟩. ⟨hal-01763298⟩



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