skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Island Formation Resulting From Radially Symmetric Flow Expansion

Abstract

Island formation and distributary channel branching are important processes in prograding river deltas. In this study, we develop and test a new theory predicting the distance to islands and channel bifurcations based on fluid mass conservation and radially symmetric transport conditions. We analyze channelization and island formation using nine new and five existing delta experiments as well as four field deltas. The new experiments were designed to produce islands from initial deposition of a mouth bar. Before island formation, each bar evolved into a radially symmetric deposit with unchannelized flow over its top previously described as a topographic flow expansion. This morphology was stable to topographic perturbations, and its distal limit prograded basinward while maintaining a characteristic flow depth. Island formation and channel branching occurred on top of this deposit. We hypothesize that this distance (Ψ) is set by the location where boundary shear stress applied by expanding, radially averaged flow falls below the threshold of sediment motion. The model predicts that the distance to the first island scales with water discharge, scales inversely with flow depth, and scales with the inverse square root of median grain diameter. Finally, from experiment to field scales, distances to island locations are predictedmore » within a factor of two.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]
  1. Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (United States)
  2. Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States); Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States)
  3. Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1512957
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1422632
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0016163
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Earth Surface
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 123; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9003
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; delta; island; mouth bar; jet; coast; flow expansion

Citation Formats

Shaw, John B., Miller, Kimberly, and McElroy, Brandon. Island Formation Resulting From Radially Symmetric Flow Expansion. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1002/2017jf004464.
Shaw, John B., Miller, Kimberly, & McElroy, Brandon. Island Formation Resulting From Radially Symmetric Flow Expansion. United States. doi:10.1002/2017jf004464.
Shaw, John B., Miller, Kimberly, and McElroy, Brandon. Thu . "Island Formation Resulting From Radially Symmetric Flow Expansion". United States. doi:10.1002/2017jf004464. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1512957.
@article{osti_1512957,
title = {Island Formation Resulting From Radially Symmetric Flow Expansion},
author = {Shaw, John B. and Miller, Kimberly and McElroy, Brandon},
abstractNote = {Island formation and distributary channel branching are important processes in prograding river deltas. In this study, we develop and test a new theory predicting the distance to islands and channel bifurcations based on fluid mass conservation and radially symmetric transport conditions. We analyze channelization and island formation using nine new and five existing delta experiments as well as four field deltas. The new experiments were designed to produce islands from initial deposition of a mouth bar. Before island formation, each bar evolved into a radially symmetric deposit with unchannelized flow over its top previously described as a topographic flow expansion. This morphology was stable to topographic perturbations, and its distal limit prograded basinward while maintaining a characteristic flow depth. Island formation and channel branching occurred on top of this deposit. We hypothesize that this distance (Ψ) is set by the location where boundary shear stress applied by expanding, radially averaged flow falls below the threshold of sediment motion. The model predicts that the distance to the first island scales with water discharge, scales inversely with flow depth, and scales with the inverse square root of median grain diameter. Finally, from experiment to field scales, distances to island locations are predicted within a factor of two.},
doi = {10.1002/2017jf004464},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research. Earth Surface},
number = 2,
volume = 123,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 2 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Map showing the locations of channel networks that radiate from a central node. The bar at the bottom of each map is 1 km long. Locations (b) and (d) are nested within the larger deltas and shown as red squares in (a) and (c), respectively. Maps (a) andmore » (c) are located within the greater Mississippi Delta in coastal Louisiana, USA (e). Topographic data in (a) and (b) are meters above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW).« less

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

A potential vorticity theory for the formation of elongate channels in river deltas and lakes
journal, January 2010

  • Falcini, Federico; Jerolmack, Douglas J.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 115, Issue F4
  • DOI: 10.1029/2010JF001802

Is river avulsion style controlled by floodplain morphodynamics?
journal, March 2014


River Avulsions and Their Deposits
journal, May 2004


Sediment transport and deposition at river mouths: A synthesis
journal, January 1977


Topset-dominated deltas: A new model for river delta stratigraphy
journal, December 2011

  • Edmonds, Douglas A.; Shaw, John B.; Mohrig, David
  • Geology, Vol. 39, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1130/G32358.1

Morphodynamics of subaqueous levee formation: Insights into river mouth morphologies arising from experiments
journal, January 2010

  • Rowland, Joel C.; Dietrich, William E.; Stacey, Mark T.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 115, Issue F4
  • DOI: 10.1029/2010JF001684

Splitting rivers at their seams: bifurcations and avulsion: BIFURCATIONS AND AVULSION
journal, June 2012

  • Kleinhans, Maarten G.; Ferguson, Robert I.; Lane, Stuart N.
  • Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 38, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1002/esp.3268

Extrinsic and intrinsic controls on mouth bar and mouth bar complex architecture: Examples from the Pennsylvanian (Upper Carboniferous) of the central Appalachian Basin, Kentucky, USA
journal, May 2016

  • Jerrett, Rhodri M.; Bennie, Laura I.; Flint, Stephen S.
  • Geological Society of America Bulletin, Vol. 128, Issue 11-12
  • DOI: 10.1130/B31429.1

Hydrological connectivity in river deltas: The first‐order importance of channel‐island exchange
journal, April 2015

  • Hiatt, Matthew; Passalacqua, Paola
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 51, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1002/2014WR016149

Natural Processes in Delta Restoration: Application to the Mississippi Delta
journal, January 2011


Hydrodynamic and geomorphic controls on mouth bar evolution: MOUTH BAR CONTROLS
journal, April 2013

  • Esposito, Christopher R.; Georgiou, Ioannis Y.; Kolker, Alexander S.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 40, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1002/grl.50333

Controls on river delta formation; insights from numerical modelling
journal, February 2011

  • Geleynse, Nathanaël; Storms, Joep E. A.; Walstra, Dirk-Jan R.
  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 302, Issue 1-2
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2010.12.013

Episodic overbank deposition as a dominant mechanism of floodplain and delta-plain aggradation
journal, August 2015

  • Shen, Zhixiong; Törnqvist, Torbjörn E.; Mauz, Barbara
  • Geology, Vol. 43, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1130/G36847.1

Sediment infilling and wetland formation dynamics in an active crevasse splay of the Mississippi River delta
journal, August 2011


Backwater and river plume controls on scour upstream of river mouths: Implications for fluvio-deltaic morphodynamics: BACKWATER AND RIVER PLUME CONTROLS
journal, January 2012

  • Lamb, Michael P.; Nittrouer, Jeffrey A.; Mohrig, David
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, Vol. 117, Issue F1
  • DOI: 10.1029/2011JF002079

Bay-head deltas across the northern Gulf of Mexico back step in response to the 8.2ka cooling event
journal, December 2010


Anatomy of an avulsion
journal, February 1989


Estuarine facies models; conceptual basis and stratigraphic implications
journal, November 1992


Cost analysis of water and sediment diversions to optimize land building in the Mississippi River delta: Cost Analysis to Optimize Mississippi Delta Land Building
journal, June 2013

  • Kenney, Melissa A.; Hobbs, Benjamin F.; Mohrig, David
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 49, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1002/wrcr.20139

Process-Driven Architectural Variability In Mouth-Bar Deposits: A Case Study From A Mixed-Process Mouth-Bar Complex, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada
journal, May 2016

  • Ainsworth, R. Bruce; Vakarelov, Boyan K.; MacEachern, James A.
  • Journal of Sedimentary Research, Vol. 86, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.2110/jsr.2016.23

The effect of wind waves on the development of river mouth bars: EFFECT OF WIND WAVES ON RIVER MOUTH BARS
journal, June 2012

  • Nardin, William; Fagherazzi, Sergio
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 39, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1029/2012GL051788

The significance of mid-channel bars in an active meandering river
journal, December 1986


Dynamics of river mouth deposits: DYNAMICS OF RIVER MOUTH DEPOSITS
journal, July 2015

  • Fagherazzi, Sergio; Edmonds, Douglas A.; Nardin, William
  • Reviews of Geophysics, Vol. 53, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1002/2014RG000451

Quantitative metrics that describe river deltas and their channel networks
journal, January 2011

  • Edmonds, Douglas A.; Paola, Chris; Hoyal, David C. J. D.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 116, Issue F4
  • DOI: 10.1029/2010JF001955

Threshold for particle entrainment into suspension
journal, April 2003


Airborne radar imaging of subaqueous channel evolution in Wax Lake Delta, Louisiana, USA
journal, May 2016

  • Shaw, John B.; Ayoub, Francois; Jones, Cathleen E.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1002/2016GL068770

Quantifiable effectiveness of experimental scaling of river- and delta morphodynamics and stratigraphy
journal, June 2014


Profiling risk and sustainability in coastal deltas of the world
journal, August 2015


The importance of erosion in distributary channel network growth, Wax Lake Delta, Louisiana, USA
journal, November 2013


Influence of sediment cohesion on deltaic shoreline dynamics and bulk sediment retention: A laboratory study: INFLUENCE OF SEDIMENT COHESION ON DELTAS
journal, November 2015

  • Straub, Kyle M.; Li, Qi; Benson, W. Matthew
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 42, Issue 22
  • DOI: 10.1002/2015GL066131

Sediment Transport, Part I: Bed Load Transport
journal, October 1984


Experimental river delta size set by multiple floods and backwater hydrodynamics
journal, May 2016

  • Ganti, Vamsi; Chadwick, Austin J.; Hassenruck-Gudipati, Hima J.
  • Science Advances, Vol. 2, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501768

Depositional patterns following the 1870s avulsion of the Saskatchewan River (Cumberland Marshes, Saskatchewan, Canada)
journal, January 1999

  • Perez-Arlucea, M.; Smith, N. D.
  • Journal of Sedimentary Research, Vol. 69, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.2110/jsr.69.62

Morphodynamic evolution of experimental cohesive deltas
journal, January 2009

  • Hoyal, D. C. J. D.; Sheets, B. A.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 114, Issue F2
  • DOI: 10.1029/2007JF000882

Depositional dynamics in a river diversion receiving basin: The case of the West Bay Mississippi River Diversion
journal, June 2012

  • Kolker, Alexander S.; Miner, Michael D.; Weathers, H. Dallon
  • Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Vol. 106
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.04.005

Planimetric instability of channels with variable width
journal, April 2002


Geometry, Flow, and Sediment Transport of Alluvial Deposits Induced By Topographically Driven Flow Expansions
journal, February 2014

  • Sittoni, L.; Paola, C.; Voller, V.
  • Journal of Sedimentary Research, Vol. 84, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.2110/jsr.2014.11

Characterization of river delta shorelines: CHARACTERIZATION OF DELTA SHORELINES
journal, September 2012

  • Geleynse, N.; Voller, V. R.; Paola, C.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 39, Issue 17
  • DOI: 10.1029/2012GL052845

Restoration sedimentology
journal, November 2012


    Works referencing / citing this record:

    On the incipient formation of bars and channels on alluvial fans
    journal, June 2019

    • Tambroni, Nicoletta; Seminara, Giovanni; Paola, Chris
    • Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 44, Issue 12
    • DOI: 10.1002/esp.4676

    On the incipient formation of bars and channels on alluvial fans
    journal, June 2019

    • Tambroni, Nicoletta; Seminara, Giovanni; Paola, Chris
    • Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 44, Issue 12
    • DOI: 10.1002/esp.4676

    Distributary Channel Networks as Moving Boundaries: Causes and Morphodynamic Effects
    journal, July 2019

    • Ke, Wun‐Tao; Shaw, John B.; Mahon, Robert C.
    • Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, Vol. 124, Issue 7
    • DOI: 10.1029/2019jf005084

    Measuring subaqueous progradation of the Wax Lake Delta with a model of flow direction divergence
    journal, January 2018