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A Sediment Budget of The Lower Yellow River, China, Over The Period from 1855 to 1968

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This study investigates the sediment fluxes through the Yellow River sediment routing system, which are among the largest in the world, by constructing a sediment budget of the system over the period from 1855 to 1968. The framework of the sediment budget includes four functional units with the upper and middle reaches of the river as the sediment source and its lower reaches, its delta, and the deep sea as the sediment sinks. Sediment yield from the source and amounts of deposition in the lower Yellow River and the modern Yellow River delta were estimated for completing the sediment budget. The sediment budget produced for the period from 1855 to 1968 was characterized by a sediment input of 1.837 × 1011 tonnes and a distribution of the sediment between the lower Yellow River, the delta, and the deep sea of 64%, 33%, and 3%, respectively. The details of the sediment budget show that the importance of sedimentation in the lower Yellow River changed greatly with variations in the condition of the dykes and other human activities. A comparison of the sediment budgets of the delta for different timescales shows that the proportion of sediment dispersed to the deep sea decreases as the timescale over which the sediment fluxes are investigated increases.

Keywords: Yellow River; human impacts; sediment budget; sediment routing system

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China 2: Department of Geography, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Publication date: October 1, 2005


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