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Journal Articles Earth Surface Dynamics Year : 2023

Entrainment and deposition of boulders in a gravel bed river

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Abstract. Bedload transport, entrainment of coarse sediment by a river, is inherently a stochastic and intermittent process whose monitoring remains challenging. Here, we propose a new method to characterize bedload transport in the field. Using an uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with a high-resolution camera, we recorded yearly images of a bar of the Grande Rivière des Vieux-Habitants, a gravel bed river located on Basse-Terre Island (Guadeloupe, French West Indies). These images, combined with high-frequency measurements of the river discharge, allow us to monitor the evolution of the population of sediments of a diameter between 0.5 and 0.75 m on the riverbed. Based on this dataset, we estimate the smallest discharge that can move these boulders and calculate the duration of effective transport. We find that the transport of boulders occurs for approximately 10 h yr−1. When plotted as a function of the effective transport time, a given population of boulders decreases exponentially with an effective residence time of approximately 17 h. This exponential decay suggests that the probability of dislodging a grain from the bed is proportional to the number of grains at repose on the bed, an observation consistent with laboratory experiments. Finally, the residence time of bedload particles on a riverbed can be used to evaluate bedload discharge.
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Dates and versions

hal-03946277 , version 1 (19-01-2023)


Attribution - CC BY 4.0



Pascal Allemand, Eric Lajeunesse, Olivier Devauchelle, Vincent J Langlois. Entrainment and deposition of boulders in a gravel bed river. Earth Surface Dynamics, 2023, 11 (1), pp.21-32. ⟨10.5194/esurf-11-21-2023⟩. ⟨hal-03946277⟩
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