Length scales and statistical characteristics of outer bank roughness for large elongate meander bends: The influence of bank material properties, floodplain vegetation and flow inundation

Kory Konsoer, Bruce Rhoads, James Best, Eddy Langendoen, Mick Ursic, Jorge Abad, Marcelo Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article explores the length scales and statistical characteristics of form roughness along the outer banks of two elongate bends on a large meandering river through investigation of topographic variability of the bank face. The analysis also examines how roughness varies over the vertical height of the banks and when the banks are exposed subaerially and inundated during flood stage. Detailed data on the topography of the outer banks were obtained subaerially using terrestrial LiDAR during low flow conditions and subaqueously using multibeam echo sounding (MBES) during near-bankfull conditions. The contributions of various length scales of topographic irregularity to roughness for subaerial conditions were evaluated for different elevation contours on the bank faces using Hilbert–Huang Transform (HHT) spectral analysis. Statistical characteristics for discrete areas on the bank faces were determined by calculating the root-mean-square of normal distances from a triangulated irregular network (TIN) surface. Results of the HHT analysis show that the characteristics of roughness along bank faces composed primarily of non-cohesive sediment, and eroding into cropland, vary with bank elevation and exhibit a dominant range of roughness length scales (~15–50 m). However, bank faces composed predominantly of cohesive material and carved into a forested floodplain have relatively uniform topographic roughness characteristics over the vertical extent of the bank face and do not exhibit a dominant roughness length scale or range of length scales. Additionally, comparison between local surface roughness for subaerial versus subaqueous conditions shows that roughness decreases considerably when the banks are submerged, most likely because of the removal of vegetation and eradication of small-scale erosional features in non-cohesive bank materials by flow along the bank face. Thus, roughness appears to be linked to the hydraulic conditions affecting the bank, at least relative to conditions that develop when banks are exposed subaerially.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2024-2037
Number of pages14
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Volume42
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Keywords

  • fluvial geomorphology
  • meander bank roughness
  • multibeam echo sounding
  • terrestrial LiDAR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Length scales and statistical characteristics of outer bank roughness for large elongate meander bends: The influence of bank material properties, floodplain vegetation and flow inundation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this