Virtual rate and mean distance of travel of individual clasts in gravel-bed channels

M.A. Hassan, M. Church, Philip Ashworth

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Travel distances in gravel-bed rivers of tagged particles of various sizes are related to excess stream power estimated for peak discharge. Mean distance of movement, irrespective of grain size, is weakly correlated with stream power, especially near the threshold of movement. There may be several reasons for the weak correlation, including variable effects of bed structure, varying magnitudes of sediment mobilizing events and sampling problems. Grain size itself is of marginal significance. The virtual rate of travel calculated using total time for which the flow is larger than that needed to initiate clast movement also bears a weak relation to the excess stream power over the period. Better results are obtained by relating the virtual rate of travel to the first peak of the flow event only. This implies that the initial seeding of the tagged particles dominates the observations. Nonetheless, an underlying general relation is indicated by the data, which are derived from a wide range of flow regime types.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-627
Number of pages11
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992


  • Sediment transport
  • Stone movement
  • Gravel-bed rivers
  • Stream power


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