High curvatures drive river meandering

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1130/G45608.1. This is version 4 of this Preprint.


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Zoltan Sylvester, Jacob Covault, Paul Durkin


One of the long- and widely held ideas about the dynamics of meandering
rivers is that migration slows down in bends with higher curvatures.
Identifying the radius of curvature at which migration is fastest is
standard practice in field studies of meandering rivers. High-resolution
measurements of local migration rates in time-lapse Landsat images from
two rapidly migrating rivers in the Amazon Basin suggest that the
variation of migration rate closely follows that of the local curvature,
with a roughly constant phase lag between the two; and a quasi-linear
relationship exists between curvature and migration rate if this lag is
taken into account. A simple numerical model of meandering illustrates
the link between curvature and migration rate and reproduces
observations from the studied rivers. The implication is that meandering
rivers migrate fastest at, and slightly downstream of, locations of
high curvature; and one of the most important ways river migration is
rejuvenated and meandering patterns are reshuffled is the generation of
high-curvature bends through cutoffs.




Earth Sciences, Geology, Geomorphology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Rivers, Landsat, curvature, meandering, cutoffs, migration rate


Published: 2017-11-21 07:57

Last Updated: 2021-04-21 10:35

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