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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2018-43
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
13 Jun 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).
Uniform grain-size distribution in the active layer of a shallow, gravel-bed, braided river (the Urumqi River, China) and implications for paleo-hydrology
Laure Guerit1, Laurie Barrier2, Youcun Liu3, Clément Narteau2, Eric Lajeunesse2, Eric Gayer2, and François Métivier2 1GET, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, IRD, UPS, Toulouse, France
2Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris – Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris Diderot, CNRS, UMR 7154, Paris, France
3School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Jiangxi University of Science and Technology, Ganzhou 341000, China
Abstract. The grain-size distribution of ancient alluvial systems is commonly determined from surface samples of vertically exposed sections of gravel deposits. This method relies on the hypothesis that the grain-size distribution obtained from a vertical cross-section is equivalent to that of the river bed. We report a field test of this hypothesis on samples collected on an active, gravel-bed, braided stream: the Urumqi River in China. We compare data from volumetric samples of a trench excavated in an active thread and surface counts performed on the trench vertical faces. We show that the grain-size distributions obtained from all samples are similar and that the deposit is uniform at the scale of the river active layer, a layer extending from the surface to a depth of approximately ten times the size of the largest clasts.
Citation: Guerit, L., Barrier, L., Liu, Y., Narteau, C., Lajeunesse, E., Gayer, E., and Métivier, F.: Uniform grain-size distribution in the active layer of a shallow, gravel-bed, braided river (the Urumqi River, China) and implications for paleo-hydrology, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2018-43, in review, 2018.
Laure Guerit et al.
Laure Guerit et al.
Laure Guerit et al.

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Short summary
The grain-size distribution of ancient alluvial systems is commonly determined from sections of gravel deposits exposed vertically to reconstruct paleo-environments or changes in tectonic and/or climate. To test whether such grain-size distribution is equivalent to the one of the sediments that were in direct contact with the flow at the time of deposition, we dug a large trench in an active gravel-bed braided river. We show that the granulometry is uniform at the scale of the active layer.
The grain-size distribution of ancient alluvial systems is commonly determined from sections of...
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