Flow structure and transport of sand-grade suspended sediment around an evolving braid bar, Jamuna River, Bangladesh

S.J. McLelland, Philip Ashworth, J.L. Best, J. Roden, G.J. Klaassen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Detailed vertical profiles of time-averaged flow velocities and sediment concentration were taken during threeperiods of mid-channel bar development in the Jamuna River, Bangladesh. Bar growth was initiated downstreamfrom a major flow convergence and generated a bar 4 km long and 1 km wide in a channel up to 15 m deep. Flowvelocities and the concentrations of sand-grade suspended sediment were quantified using an acoustic Dopplercurrent profiler (ADCP). Bed morphology was measured using echo-sounding and all positions were locatedusing a differential global positioning system (DGPS).These data reveal no evidence for channel-scale, coherent helical flow cells in either distributary around thebraid bar. Instead, the structure of flow is dominated by a simpler flow divergence over the bar head, flow convergenceat the bar tail and flow that is usually parallel to the thalwegs in each distributary. During the later stages ofbar growth, flow is directed over the bar top from one distributary towards the other as the bar begins to adopt amore asymmetrical morphology. In addition, large sand dunes migrate up the bar stoss side, producing an accretionarydune front at the bar head. These dunes are strongly linked to high suspended bed-sediment concentrationsas flow shallows on to the bar top. A shadow of low suspended bed-sediment concentration is located in the bar leeduring the early stages of bar growth, this also being a region of small sand dunes.The lack of coherent secondary flows, around large kilometre-scale bars, may be explained through the largewidth-to-depth ratio of these channels, the low curvature of the anabranches, the complexity of flow over the bartop as it interacts with flow in the anabranches and the significant influence of large-scale dune-bedform roughness.These factors suggest that current models for the processes of mid-channel bar creation, growth and preservation,derived from studies of smaller rivers, require substantial revision before application to kilometre-scale sand-braidbars.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFluvial Sedimentology VI
EditorsN.D. Smith, J. Roger
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherBlackwells Science
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780632053544
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999

Publication series

NameSpecial Publication of International Association of Sedimentologists


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