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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2019-60
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2019-60
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 24 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 24 Oct 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).

Woody debris as a confounding factor in interpreting the width of spring-fed streams

Dana Ariel Lapides and Michael Manga Dana Ariel Lapides and Michael Manga
  • Dept. of Earth and Planetary Science University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-4767, United States of America

Abstract. Spring-fed streams throughout volcanic regions of the western United States exhibit larger widths than runoff-fed streams with similar discharge. Due to the distinctive damped hydrograph of spring-fed streams, large woody debris is less mobile in spring-fed than runoff-fed stream channels. The consequent long residence time of wood in spring-fed streams allows wood to potentially have long-term impacts on channel morphology. We used high-resolution satellite imagery in combination with discharge and climate data from published reports and publicly available databases to investigate the relationship between discharge, woody debris length, and channel width in 38 spring-fed and 20 runoff-fed streams. We identify an order of magnitude more logjams than single logs per unit length present in runoff-fed streams as compared to spring-fed streams. Histograms of log orientation in spring-fed streams additionally confirm that single logs are immobile in the channel so that the impact of single logs on channel morphology could be pronounced in spring-fed streams. Based on these observed differences, we hypothesize that there should be a difference in channel morphology. We find that spring-fed streams in our study are about 2 times wider than runoff-fed streams with similar mean discharge. Additionally, a model for stream width in spring-fed streams based solely on length of wood is a better model than one derived from discharge or including both discharge and wood length. This study provides insights into controls on stream width in spring-fed streams by identifying a strong correlation between wood length and stream width and confirming that spring-fed streams are significantly wider than runoff-fed streams.

Dana Ariel Lapides and Michael Manga
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Status: open (until 11 Dec 2019)
Status: open (until 11 Dec 2019)
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Dana Ariel Lapides and Michael Manga
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Woody Debris as a Confounding Factor in Interpreting the Width of Spring-Fed Streams: Datasets and Supplementary Material D. A. Lapides and M. Manga https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3517298

Dana Ariel Lapides and Michael Manga
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Short summary
Spring-fed streams throughout volcanic regions of the western United States are wider than runoff-fed streams with similar flow levels. We used high-resolution satellite imagery in combination with flow and climate data to examine the relationship between wood loading and stream width in 38 spring-fed and 20 runoff-fed streams. This study identifies distinct wood dynamics in spring-fed and runoff-fed streams and a strong correlation between stream width and wood length in spring-fed streams.
Spring-fed streams throughout volcanic regions of the western United States are wider than...
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