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Title: Distributary Channel Networks as Moving Boundaries: Causes and Morphodynamic Effects

Abstract

In this study, we propose an exploratory model to describe the morphodynamics of distributary channel network growth on river deltas. The interface between deep channels and the shallow, unchannelized delta front deposits is modeled as a moving boundary. Steady flow over the unchannelized delta front is friction dominated and modeled by Laplace's equation. Shear stress along the network boundary produces nonlinear erosion rates at the interface, causing the boundary to move and network elements (channels and branches) to form. The model was run for boundary conditions resembling the Wax Lake Delta in coastal Louisiana, 20 parameterizations of sediment transport, and 3 parameterizations of discharge. In each case, the model produced a complex channel network with channel number, width, bifurcation angle, and channel shape depending on the sediment transport formula. For reasonable sediment transport parameters and gradually increasing water discharge, the model produced network characteristics and progradation rates similar to theWax Lake Delta. Lastly, this suggests that the model contains the processes responsible for network growth, despite its abstract formulation.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (United States)
  2. Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (United States); Univ. of New Orleans, LA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
OSTI Identifier:
1598314
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1543066
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0016163; EAR‐1246761
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Earth Surface
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 124; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9003
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; river delta; morphodynamics; moving boundary; Laplace's equation

Citation Formats

Ke, Wun‐Tao, Shaw, John B., Mahon, Robert C., and Cathcart, Christopher A. Distributary Channel Networks as Moving Boundaries: Causes and Morphodynamic Effects. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1029/2019JF005084.
Ke, Wun‐Tao, Shaw, John B., Mahon, Robert C., & Cathcart, Christopher A. Distributary Channel Networks as Moving Boundaries: Causes and Morphodynamic Effects. United States. doi:10.1029/2019JF005084.
Ke, Wun‐Tao, Shaw, John B., Mahon, Robert C., and Cathcart, Christopher A. Sat . "Distributary Channel Networks as Moving Boundaries: Causes and Morphodynamic Effects". United States. doi:10.1029/2019JF005084.
@article{osti_1598314,
title = {Distributary Channel Networks as Moving Boundaries: Causes and Morphodynamic Effects},
author = {Ke, Wun‐Tao and Shaw, John B. and Mahon, Robert C. and Cathcart, Christopher A.},
abstractNote = {In this study, we propose an exploratory model to describe the morphodynamics of distributary channel network growth on river deltas. The interface between deep channels and the shallow, unchannelized delta front deposits is modeled as a moving boundary. Steady flow over the unchannelized delta front is friction dominated and modeled by Laplace's equation. Shear stress along the network boundary produces nonlinear erosion rates at the interface, causing the boundary to move and network elements (channels and branches) to form. The model was run for boundary conditions resembling the Wax Lake Delta in coastal Louisiana, 20 parameterizations of sediment transport, and 3 parameterizations of discharge. In each case, the model produced a complex channel network with channel number, width, bifurcation angle, and channel shape depending on the sediment transport formula. For reasonable sediment transport parameters and gradually increasing water discharge, the model produced network characteristics and progradation rates similar to theWax Lake Delta. Lastly, this suggests that the model contains the processes responsible for network growth, despite its abstract formulation.},
doi = {10.1029/2019JF005084},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research. Earth Surface},
number = 7,
volume = 124,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {6}
}

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