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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2016-06-24
    Description: The Selenga River Delta, Lake Baikal, Russia, is ~600 km 2 in size and contains multiple distributary channels that receive varying amounts of water and sediment discharge. The delta is positioned along the deep-water (~1600 m) margin of Lake Baikal, a half-graben–styled rift basin, qualifying it as a modern analogue of a shelf-edge delta system. This study provides a detailed field survey of channel bed sediment composition, channel geometry, and water discharge. The data and analyses presented here indicate that the Selenga Delta exhibits downstream sediment fining over tens of kilometers, ranging from predominantly gravel (coarse pebble) and sand near its apex to silt and sand at the delta-lake interface. We developed an analytical framework to evaluate the downstream elimination of gravel within the multiple distributary channels. The findings include the following. (1) The Selenga River Delta consists of at least eight orders of distributary channels. (2) With increasing channel order downstream, channel cross-sectional area, width-depth ratio, water discharge, boundary shear stress, and sediment flux systematically decrease. (3) The downstream elimination of gravel in distributary channels is caused by declining boundary shear stress as a result of water discharge partitioning among the bifurcating channels. (4) Over longer time scales, gravel is contained on the delta topset due to frequent and discrete seismic events that produce subsidence and accommodation, so that coarse sediment cannot be transported to the axis of the Baikal Rift basin. The distribution of sediment grain size in deltaic channels, as related to hydrodynamics and sediment transport, plays a critical role in influencing stratigraphy, because the sustained tectonism leads to high preservation potential of the delta topset sedimentary deposits. Therefore, the Selenga River Delta provides an opportunity to explore the interactions between modern deltaic sedimentation processes and tectonics that affect the production of basin stratigraphy.
    Print ISSN: 0016-7606
    Electronic ISSN: 1943-2674
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2017-05-13
    Description: Sedimentary dispersal systems with fine-grained beds are common, yet the physics of sediment movement within them remains poorly constrained. We analyze sediment transport data for the best-documented, fine-grained river worldwide, the Huanghe (Yellow River) of China, where sediment flux is underpredicted by an order of magnitude according to well-accepted sediment transport relations. Our theoretical framework, bolstered by field observations, demonstrates that the Huanghe tends toward upper-stage plane bed, yielding minimal form drag, thus markedly enhancing sediment transport efficiency. We present a sediment transport formulation applicable to all river systems with silt to coarse-sand beds. This formulation demonstrates a remarkably sensitive dependence on grain size within a certain narrow range and therefore has special relevance to silt-sand fluvial systems, particularly those affected by dams.
    Electronic ISSN: 2375-2548
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-04-25
    Description: River deltas are built by cycles of lobe growth and abrupt channel shifts, or avulsions, that occur within the backwater zone of coastal rivers. Previous numerical models differ on the origin of backwater-scaled avulsion nodes and their consistency with experimental data. To unify previous work, we developed a numerical model of delta growth that includes backwater hydrodynamics, river mouth progradation, relative sea level rise, variable flow regimes, and cycles of lobe growth, abandonment, and reoccupation. For parameter space applicable to lowland deltas, we found that flow variability is the primary mechanism to cause persistent avulsion nodes by focusing aggradation within the backwater zone. Backwater-scaled avulsion nodes also occur under less likely scenarios of initially uniform bed slopes or during rapid relative sea level rise and marine transgression. Our findings suggest that flow variability is a fundamental control on long-term delta morphodynamics. ©2019. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
    Print ISSN: 0094-8276
    Electronic ISSN: 1944-8007
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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