Near-bankfull floods in an Alpine stream: Effects on the sediment mobility and bedload magnitude

Rainato, R., Mao, Luca and Picco, L. (2018) Near-bankfull floods in an Alpine stream: Effects on the sediment mobility and bedload magnitude. International Journal of Sediment Research, 33 (1). pp. 27-34. ISSN 10016279

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In a mountain environment, the transport of coarse material is a key factor for many fields such as geomorphology, ecology, hazard assessment, and reservoir management. Despite this, there have been only a few field investigations of bedload, in particular using multiple monitoring methods. In this sense, attention has frequently focused on the effects of “high magnitude/low frequency floods” rather than on “ordinary events”. This study aims to analyze the sediment dynamics triggered by three high-frequency floods (recurrence interval “RI” between 1.1 and 1.7 yr) that occurred in the Rio Cordon basin during 2014. The flood events were investigated in terms of both sediment mobility and bedload magnitude. The Rio Cordon is an Alpine basin located in northeastern Italy. The catchment has a surface area of 5 km2, ranging between 1763 and 2763 m above sea level. The Rio Cordon flows on an armored streambed layer, with a stable step-pool configuration and large boulders. Since 1986, the basin has been equipped with a permanent station to continuously monitor water discharge and sediment flux. To investigate sediment mobility, 250 PIT-tags were installed in the streambed in 2012. The 2014 floods showed a clear difference in terms of tracer displacement. The near-bankfull events showed equal mobility conditions, with mean travel distance one order of magnitude higher than the below-bankfull event. Furthermore, only the near-bankfull events transported coarse material to the monitoring station. Both events had a peak discharge up to 2.06 m3 s-1, but the bedload transport rates differed by more than one order of magnitude, proving that under the current supply-limited condition, the bedload appears more related to the sediment supply than to the magnitude of the hydrological features. In this sense, the results demonstrated that near-bankfull events can mobilize large amounts of material for long distances, and that floods of apparently similar magnitude may lead to different sediment dynamics, depending on the type and amount of sediment supply.

Additional Information:cited By 3
Keywords:Alpine basin, Bedload, Bedload tracing, PIT-tags, Sediment dynamics
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F820 Geomorphology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
ID Code:32771
Deposited On:23 Jul 2018 10:09

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