The impact of stream channelization on the geomorphic stability of an arid-region river

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Abstract

Little is known about how stream channelization affects the stability of dryland rivers. This study investigates the impact of channelization on the morphology, energy conditions, and sediment-transport potential of a 14.8km reach of Santa Rosa Wash - an ephemeral stream in south-central Arizona. Historical evidence and field data indicate that the morphology of the wash before channelization consisted of numerous anabranched channels set within a broad floodplain. This form differed substantially from the trapezoidal morphology of the flood-control channel that replaced the wash. Immediately following construction in the early 1960s, the modified channel became unstable and began to enlarge and degrade. In 1983 a large headcut formed in the channel during a major flood; this feature apparently migrates upstream episodically in response to large flows. -from Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-177
Number of pages21
JournalNational Geographic Research
Volume6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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