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Modelling Spatial Patterns of Overbank Sedimentation on Embanked Floodplains

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This paper presents a GIS-based mathematical model for the simulation of floodplain sedimentation. The model comprises two components: (1) the existing hydrodynamic WAQUA model that calculates two-dimensional water flow patterns; and (2) the SEDIFLUX model that calculates deposition of sediment based on a simple mass balance concept with a limited number of model parameters. The models were applied to simulate floodplain sediment deposition over river reaches of several kilometres in length. The SEDIFLUX model has been calibrated and validated using interpolated raster maps of sediment deposition observed after the large magnitude December 1993 flood on the embanked floodplain of the lower river Rhine in the Netherlands. The model appeared to be an adequate tool to predict patterns of sediment deposition as the product of the complex interaction among river discharge and sediment concentration, floodplain topography, and the resulting water flow patterns during various discharge levels. In the investigated areas, the resulting annual average sedimentation rates varied between 0.5 mm/year and 4.0 mm/year. The role of the most important mechanisms governing the spatial patterns of overbank deposition, i.e. inundation frequency, sediment load, floodplain topography and its influence on the flow patterns over the floodplain, are discussed.
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Keywords: GIS; modelling; overbank deposition; river floodplains; sedimentation rates

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publication date: 1998-08-01

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