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    Dryland anabranching river morphodynamics: Río capilla, salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

    Li, J. and Bristow, Charlie S. and Luthi, S.M. and Donselaar, M.E. (2015) Dryland anabranching river morphodynamics: Río capilla, salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. Geomorphology 250 , pp. 282-297. ISSN 0169-555X.

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    The dryland anabranching river Río Capilla is characterized by nonvegetated and vegetated reaches with prominent channel morphology. To identify the morphodynamics of such dryland anabranching systems and their controls, we investigated the Río Capilla of the southern Altiplano Plateau using high-resolution satellite imagery and field measurements. Comparison of high-resolution satellite data reveals that erosion exceeds deposition for the main channel, accompanied by changes in channel planform, such as meander and channel morphology. On-site surveys combined with high-precision GPS and high-resolution satellite imagery show that channels are characterized by shallowness and poor development of levees. The study area of the Río Capilla is divided into two zones of different slopes: zone 1 with a high slope and zone 2 with a low slope. Zone 1 has a relatively straight main channel with few anabranches and grass-covered banks that are stable despite the high gradient; whereas Zone 2 is typified by more anabranches with nonvegetated banks, and the main channel experiences prominent bank accretion and erosion. Excavations show that point-bar deposits are fine-sand-dominated in two reaches and that river banks primarily consist of silt and clay. The limited vegetation cover and abundance of desiccation cracks and macropores make the river bank more erodible leading to pronounced lateral migration in this low-gradient dryland river system. Shallow channels and poor development of levees in combination with in-channel accretionary benches result in frequent overbank flooding, which results in a high density of crevasse splays over unconsolidated river banks and accretionary benches. Connection of headcuts and crevasse channels together with lateral migration and chute channels and reactivation of partially abandoned meanders produces an anabranching pattern in such dryland river systems.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2015 09:34
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:18


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