CHANGES OF RIVER BED PATTERN OF A LOWLAND RIVER: EFFECT OF NATURAL PROCESSES OR ANTHROPOGENIC INTERVENTION?
GPR and aerial surveys were conducted to study changes of channel pattern in the lower course of the Obra River (western Poland). The river is an example of an intensive anthropogenic transformation, however, the origin of the river pattern changes in its lower course is not obvious. The GPR measurements were done using a georadar MALÅ ProEx equipped with a shielded 250 MHz antenna. A 3D analysis of the GPR data supported with lithologic information indicated traces of a multi‐channel pattern. A variable orientation of sediment layering within channel bars and differences in channels depth and width pointed to changes of direction of the river bed migration. Analysis of aerial photographs and a satellite image indicated that only a few of the channels inferred from GPR could be discerned. The reason could be the more than 1 m thick fine sands layer covering all the alluvial structures. Analysis of historical maps from the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries showed that 250 years ago the Obra was a meandering river. The maps illustrate also several meander cutoffs and decreased wetlands surface. The following transformations of the river bed pattern were discerned: 1. From braided to meandering channel pattern which could be a natural process caused by climatic and sediment transport rate changes that was also observed in case of other lowland rivers. 2. From meandering to sinuous pattern with channel islands and then to sinuous with oxbow lakes. However, further research is needed to study reasons and timing of the observed changes.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Geographic and Geologic Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
Publication date: September 1, 2012