Using High-Resolution Field Measurements to Model Dune Kinematics in a Large Elongate Meander Bend.
Thursday, 18 December 2014: 4:45 PM
Due to recent advances in hydroacoustic technology, such as the development of multibeam echo sounders, it is now possible to obtain highly accurate and detailed bathymetric data for river channels. These data provide the basis for detailed characterizations of bed form morphology ranging from individual ripples to composite dune fields. Theoretical models suggest that bed forms reach an equilibrium morphology based on hydraulic conditions during steady flow. However, at the scale of individual meander bends, bed form morphology will vary according to the local flow structure as influenced by overall bed morphology and planform curvature. Thus, the coevolution of flow structure, bed form morphology, and sediment transport should vary throughout a meander bend. This paper examines spatial variation in bed form characteristics and rates of bed form migration, and thus bed material transport, within a large, actively migrating, elongate meander loop. During a May 2013 flood event on Maier Bend, Wabash River (IL-IN, USA), repeat multibeam echo sounding surveys were conducted ~4 hours apart, providing estimates of dune celerity and volumetric rates of sediment transport at different locations around the bend. Three-dimensional velocity measurements, obtained using an acoustic Doppler current profiler, provide hydraulic data for evaluating interactions between flow structure and bed form morphology. Results show that bed form morphology is highly variable within the bend, ranging from barchans dunes on the upstream limb, 2D ripples across the point bar, and 3D composite dunes with wavelength of ~20 meters near the bend apex. Rates of dune celerity varied from 0.3 m/hr to 0.7 m/hr and were dependent on bed form geometry and local hydraulic conditions. The high-resolution data on flow and form are used to calibrate a 2D numerical model of sediment transport through the bend. Simulations using the calibrated model are used to evaluate the fluvial processes underlying spatial variation in bed form morphology and sediment transport. The findings from this research have implications for sediment transport and routing in meandering rivers, and linking bed form hysteresis to flow structure in curved channels.