The role of discharge variability in determining alluvial stratigraphy

A.P. Nicholas, G.H. Sambrook-Smith, M.L. Amsler, Philip Ashworth, J.L. Best, R.J. Hardy, S.N. Lane, O. Orfeo, D.R. Parsons, A.J.H. Reesink, S.D. Sandbach, C.J. Simpson, R.N. Szupiany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We illustrate the potential for using physics-based modeling to link alluvial stratigraphy to large river morphology and dynamics. Model simulations, validated using Ground Penetrating Radar data from the Río Paraná, Argentina, demonstrate a strong relationship between bar-scale set thickness and channel depth, which applies across a wide range of river patterns and bar types. We show that hydrologic regime, indexed by discharge variability and flood duration, exerts a first-order influence on morphodynamics and hence bar set thickness, and that planform morphology alone may be a misleading variable for interpreting deposits. Indeed, our results illustrate that rivers evolving under contrasting hydrologic regimes may have verysimilar morphology, yet be characterized by marked differences in stratigraphy. This realization represents an important limitation on the application of established theory that links river topography to alluvial deposits, and highlights the need to obtain field evidence of discharge variability when developing paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Model simulations demonstrate the potential for deriving such evidence using metrics of paleocurrent variance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-6
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2015

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stratigraphy
river
paleocurrent
morphodynamics
ground penetrating radar
alluvial deposit
simulation
physics
topography
modeling

Bibliographical note

© 2015 Geological Society of America. Gold Open Access. This paper is published under the terms of the CC-BY license.

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Nicholas, A. P., Sambrook-Smith, G. H., Amsler, M. L., Ashworth, P., Best, J. L., Hardy, R. J., ... Szupiany, R. N. (2015). The role of discharge variability in determining alluvial stratigraphy. Geology, 44(1), 3-6. https://doi.org/10.1130/G37215.1
Nicholas, A.P. ; Sambrook-Smith, G.H. ; Amsler, M.L. ; Ashworth, Philip ; Best, J.L. ; Hardy, R.J. ; Lane, S.N. ; Orfeo, O. ; Parsons, D.R. ; Reesink, A.J.H. ; Sandbach, S.D. ; Simpson, C.J. ; Szupiany, R.N. / The role of discharge variability in determining alluvial stratigraphy. In: Geology. 2015 ; Vol. 44, No. 1. pp. 3-6.
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abstract = "We illustrate the potential for using physics-based modeling to link alluvial stratigraphy to large river morphology and dynamics. Model simulations, validated using Ground Penetrating Radar data from the R{\'i}o Paran{\'a}, Argentina, demonstrate a strong relationship between bar-scale set thickness and channel depth, which applies across a wide range of river patterns and bar types. We show that hydrologic regime, indexed by discharge variability and flood duration, exerts a first-order influence on morphodynamics and hence bar set thickness, and that planform morphology alone may be a misleading variable for interpreting deposits. Indeed, our results illustrate that rivers evolving under contrasting hydrologic regimes may have verysimilar morphology, yet be characterized by marked differences in stratigraphy. This realization represents an important limitation on the application of established theory that links river topography to alluvial deposits, and highlights the need to obtain field evidence of discharge variability when developing paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Model simulations demonstrate the potential for deriving such evidence using metrics of paleocurrent variance.",
author = "A.P. Nicholas and G.H. Sambrook-Smith and M.L. Amsler and Philip Ashworth and J.L. Best and R.J. Hardy and S.N. Lane and O. Orfeo and D.R. Parsons and A.J.H. Reesink and S.D. Sandbach and C.J. Simpson and R.N. Szupiany",
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Nicholas, AP, Sambrook-Smith, GH, Amsler, ML, Ashworth, P, Best, JL, Hardy, RJ, Lane, SN, Orfeo, O, Parsons, DR, Reesink, AJH, Sandbach, SD, Simpson, CJ & Szupiany, RN 2015, 'The role of discharge variability in determining alluvial stratigraphy', Geology, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 3-6. https://doi.org/10.1130/G37215.1

The role of discharge variability in determining alluvial stratigraphy. / Nicholas, A.P.; Sambrook-Smith, G.H.; Amsler, M.L.; Ashworth, Philip; Best, J.L.; Hardy, R.J.; Lane, S.N.; Orfeo, O.; Parsons, D.R.; Reesink, A.J.H.; Sandbach, S.D.; Simpson, C.J.; Szupiany, R.N.

In: Geology, Vol. 44, No. 1, 11.11.2015, p. 3-6.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - The role of discharge variability in determining alluvial stratigraphy

AU - Nicholas, A.P.

AU - Sambrook-Smith, G.H.

AU - Amsler, M.L.

AU - Ashworth, Philip

AU - Best, J.L.

AU - Hardy, R.J.

AU - Lane, S.N.

AU - Orfeo, O.

AU - Parsons, D.R.

AU - Reesink, A.J.H.

AU - Sandbach, S.D.

AU - Simpson, C.J.

AU - Szupiany, R.N.

N1 - © 2015 Geological Society of America. Gold Open Access. This paper is published under the terms of the CC-BY license.

PY - 2015/11/11

Y1 - 2015/11/11

N2 - We illustrate the potential for using physics-based modeling to link alluvial stratigraphy to large river morphology and dynamics. Model simulations, validated using Ground Penetrating Radar data from the Río Paraná, Argentina, demonstrate a strong relationship between bar-scale set thickness and channel depth, which applies across a wide range of river patterns and bar types. We show that hydrologic regime, indexed by discharge variability and flood duration, exerts a first-order influence on morphodynamics and hence bar set thickness, and that planform morphology alone may be a misleading variable for interpreting deposits. Indeed, our results illustrate that rivers evolving under contrasting hydrologic regimes may have verysimilar morphology, yet be characterized by marked differences in stratigraphy. This realization represents an important limitation on the application of established theory that links river topography to alluvial deposits, and highlights the need to obtain field evidence of discharge variability when developing paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Model simulations demonstrate the potential for deriving such evidence using metrics of paleocurrent variance.

AB - We illustrate the potential for using physics-based modeling to link alluvial stratigraphy to large river morphology and dynamics. Model simulations, validated using Ground Penetrating Radar data from the Río Paraná, Argentina, demonstrate a strong relationship between bar-scale set thickness and channel depth, which applies across a wide range of river patterns and bar types. We show that hydrologic regime, indexed by discharge variability and flood duration, exerts a first-order influence on morphodynamics and hence bar set thickness, and that planform morphology alone may be a misleading variable for interpreting deposits. Indeed, our results illustrate that rivers evolving under contrasting hydrologic regimes may have verysimilar morphology, yet be characterized by marked differences in stratigraphy. This realization represents an important limitation on the application of established theory that links river topography to alluvial deposits, and highlights the need to obtain field evidence of discharge variability when developing paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Model simulations demonstrate the potential for deriving such evidence using metrics of paleocurrent variance.

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DO - 10.1130/G37215.1

M3 - Article

VL - 44

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JO - Geology

JF - Geology

SN - 0091-7613

IS - 1

ER -

Nicholas AP, Sambrook-Smith GH, Amsler ML, Ashworth P, Best JL, Hardy RJ et al. The role of discharge variability in determining alluvial stratigraphy. Geology. 2015 Nov 11;44(1):3-6. https://doi.org/10.1130/G37215.1