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Relationships Between Flow Hydraulics, Sediment Supply, Bedload Transport and Channel Stability in the Proglacial Virkisa River, Iceland

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We present data from a proglacial river in Iceland that exhibits very different sedimentological characteristics when compared to its alpine counterparts. The braidplain is characterised by coarse outburst gravels that inhibit sediment transport and channel change. Bedload transport is restricted to the movement of fine-grained gravels that pass through the channel system without promoting significant changes in channel geometry. Bar forms are erosional features, inherited from the last major peak flow, rather than depositional in nature. On the basis of our observations we conclude that braidplain morphology is controlled by low frequency, high magnitude flow events, possibly associated with glacial outburst floods. This is in marked contrast to process-form relationships in more dynamic alpine proglacial channels that are characterised by high rates of sediment transport and channel change.

Keywords: GIS; modelling; overbank deposition; river floodplains; sedimentation rates

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, UK, 2: School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK

Publication date: August 1, 1998


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