Numerical Simulations of Floodplain Heterogeneity Effects on Meanders Migration

Friday, 19 December 2014
Stefano Lanzoni, Manuel Bogoni and Mario Putti, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
Floodplains and sinuous rivers have a close relationship with each other, mutually influencing their evolutions in time and space. The heterogeneity in erosional resistance has a crucial role on meander planform evolution. It depends on external factors, like land use and cover, but also on the composition of the floodplain, which is due to the ancient geological composition and to the processes associated to long-term river migration. In particular, banks erosion and deposition cause a variation of the superficial composition of the soil, therefore the river patterns are influenced by the previous trends. Based on some recent works, the aim of this contribution is to collect numerical information on the relations between meander migration and the heterogeneity of floodplains caused by oxbow lakes. Numerical simulations have been performed to analyze the temporal and spatial behavior of meanders with a range of values of the erosional resistance of the plain. These values are set as a function of some factors: the characteristic grain size of sediment transported by the flow, the deposition age of the sediments, the eventual presence of vegetation on the banks. The statistical analysis of characteristic geometrical quantities of meanders are able to show the dependence of the simulation results on the meander history. In particular we try to answer to the following questions: how do the rivers affect themselves during their spatial and temporal evolution, modifying the distribution of the floodplain erodibility? Do the migration history plays a main role on the meanders migration modeling?