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Title:

Stream Erosion and Transport

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Title: Fluvial Geomorphology (Rivers) Author: cheryl blair Created Date: 4/7/2003 3:55:13 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) Company – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Stream Erosion and Transport


1
Stream Erosion and Transport
  • Erosion
  • Hydraulic action erosion caused by the movement
    of water against stream sediment
  • Abrasion erosion caused by particles scraping
    and grinding the streambed
  • How much and how large of sediment can a river
    carry?
  • Competence Refers to the size of particle that
    at river can move (controlled by velocity)
  • Capacity- Refers to the amount of sediment a
    river can carry (controlled by volume)
  • What part of the river is usually most competent?
  • What part of the river has the most capacity for
    sediment transport?

2
Sediment Transport in Rivers
  • Load Any sediment that is transported due to
    river flow
  • Different Types of Load
  • Suspended Load
  • Bed Load
  • Solution Load

Rolling Traction Saltation
3
Types of Sediment
  • Clay
  • Silt
  • Sand
  • Gravel (pebbles)
  • Cobbles and Boulders

4
Watershed Dynamics
  • A Watershed is a catchment area for rainfall that
    drains into a common body of water.
  • Large watersheds are made up of smaller
    watersheds (sub-watersheds)

5
Drainage Systems
  • Drainage systems develop in such a way as to
    efficiently move water off the land. Each stream
    in a drainage system drains a certain area,
    called a drainage basin.
  • In a single drainage basin, all water falling in
    the basin drains into the same stream.
  • Drainage basins can range in size from a few km2,
    for small streams, to extremely large areas, such
    as the Mississippi River drainage basin which
    covers about 40 of the contiguous United
    States. 
  • A divide separates each drainage basin from other
    drainage basins.

6
Drainage Patterns
  • Depending on the topography of an area water will
    drain differently through its watershed
  • Before any channels exists water flows over the
    surface in a thin film (sheet flow)
  • Eventually erosion begins and rills (small
    depressions) and gullies begin to form
  • These features are what will eventually evolve
    into streams and rivers given enough time and
    increased flow
  • The most common types of drainage patterns are
    illustrated on the next slide

7
Drainage Patterns
Dendritic drainage patterns are most common. 
They develop on a land surface where the
underlying rock is of uniform resistance to
erosion.  Radial drainage patterns develop
surrounding areas of high topography where
elevation drops from a central high area to
surrounding low areas. Rectangular drainage
patterns develop where linear zones of weakness,
such as joints or faults cause the streams to cut
down along the weak areas in the rock.  
8
Flow Dynamics
  • The best way to visualize how water moves through
    a river is in cross section
  • The volume of water passing any point on a stream
    is called the discharge. Discharge is measured in
    units of volume/time (m3/sec)
  • Cross Sectional Shape - varies with position in
    the stream and discharge. The deepest parts of a
    channel occur where the stream velocity is the
    highest. Both width and depth increase downstream
    because discharge increases downstream. As
    discharge increases the cross sectional shape
    will change, with the stream becoming deeper and
    wider.

9
Flow Dynamics
  • Discharge - The discharge of a stream is the
    amount of water passing any point in a given
    time.
  • Q A x V
  • Discharge (m3/sec) Cross-sectional Area (width
    x average depth) (m2) x Average Velocity (m/sec)

10
Flow Dynamics
  • Where water is moving fast streams tend to be
    straighter (steep slopes)
  • Once the water slows the river becomes more
    sinuous and meanders across a flatter surface

11
Flow Dynamics
  • If you look at your typical Meandering stream,
    you will find that flow velocity is greatest near
    the surface directly above the deepest part of
    the channel
  • The deepest part of the channel will vary
    depending on the what part of the river you are
    observing

12
Flow Dynamics
  • If you look at your typical Meandering stream,
    you will find that flow velocity is greatest near
    the surface directly above the deepest part of
    the channel
  • The deepest part of the channel will vary
    depending on the what part of the river you are
    observing

13
Flow Dynamics
  • Point Bar The inner portion of a meander bend.
    More shallow due to increased deposition
    resulting from lower flow velocities
  • Cut Bank the outer portion of a meander bend.
    It is subject to the highest rates of a erosion
    due to elevated flow speeds and the deepest part
    of the channel

14
River Morphology
  • When a meander bend erodes far enough to cut
    itself off an Oxbow lake forms
  • If no lake forms but the dried creek bed remains
    a meander scar is the result

15
River Morphology
  • Floodplains and Levees
  • As a stream overtops its banks during a flood,
    the velocity of the flood will first be high, but
    will decrease as the water flows out over the
    gentle gradient of the floodplain.
  • Because of the sudden decrease in velocity, the
    coarser grained suspended sediment is deposited
    along the riverbank, eventually building up a
    natural levee.
  • Natural levees provide some protection from
    flooding because with each flood the levee is
    built higher and discharge must be higher for the
    next flood to occur.

16
River Morphology
  • Alluvial Fans
  • When a steep mountain stream enters a flat
    valley, there is a sudden decrease in gradient
    and velocity.
  • Sediment transported in the stream will suddenly
    become deposited along the valley walls in an
    alluvial fan.
  • As the velocity of the mountain stream slows it
    becomes choked with sediment and breaks up into
    numerous distributary channels.

17
River Morphology
  • Deltas
  • When a stream enters a standing body of water the
    sudden decrease in velocity causes deposition of
    sediment in a deposit called a delta.
  • Deltas build outward from the coast, but only
    survive if the ocean currents are not strong
    enough to remove the sediment.
  • As the velocity of a stream decreases on entering
    the delta, the stream becomes choked with
    sediment and conditions become such that the
    stream breaks into many smaller streams called
    distributary streams.
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