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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2019-75
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2019-75
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: short communication 02 Jan 2020

Submitted as: short communication | 02 Jan 2020

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

Short communication: Field data imply that the sorting (D96 / D50 ratios) of gravel bars in coarse-grained streams influences the probability of sediment transport

Fritz Schlunegger, Romain Delunel, and Philippos Garefalakis Fritz Schlunegger et al.
  • Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. Conceptual models suggest that the mobility of fluvial gravel bars is mainly controlled by sediment discharge. Here we present field observations from streams in the Swiss Alps and the Peruvian Andes to document that for a given water runoff, the probability of bedload transport also depends on the sorting of the bed material. We calculate shear stresses that are expected for a mean annual water discharge, and compare these estimates with grain-specific thresholds. We find a positive correlation between the predicted probability of transport and the sorting of the bed material, expressed by the D96 / D50 ratio. These results suggest that besides sediment discharge, the bedload sorting exerts a measurable control on the gravel bar mobility.

Fritz Schlunegger et al.
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Fritz Schlunegger et al.
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Short summary
We calculated the probability of sediment transport in coarse-grained mountainous streams in the Alps and the Andes where data on water discharge is available. We find a positive correlation between the predicted probability of sediment transport and the grain size sorting of the bed material. We suggest that besides sediment discharge, the bedload sorting exerts a significant on the mobility of sediment and thus on the stability of gravel bars in mountainous streams.
We calculated the probability of sediment transport in coarse-grained mountainous streams in the...
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