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    Crevasse splays from the rapidly aggrading, sand bed, braided Niobrara River, Nebraska: effect of base level rise

    Bristow, Charlie S. and Skelly, R.L. and Ethridge, F.G. (1999) Crevasse splays from the rapidly aggrading, sand bed, braided Niobrara River, Nebraska: effect of base level rise. Sedimentology 46 (6), pp. 1029-1047. ISSN 0037-0746.

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    Base‐level rise of ≈2·35m on the Niobrara River has resulted in aggradation of the channel belt and a recent avulsion. Overbank areas have become flooded by rising groundwaters, and more than eight crevasse splays have formed between 1993 and 1997. Two crevasse splays, situated on the west and east sides of the Niobrara, have been studied using ground‐penetrating radar (GPR), shallow boreholes and topographic surveys. The vibracores and GPR profiles provide a nearly three‐dimensional view of the architecture of crevasse splay deposits. The east splay was initiated in the winter of 1993/94 and has expanded to cover an area ≈200m by 1000m, with sediment up to 2·5m thick. The west splay, which was initiated by the opening of a crevasse channel through a levee in the autumn of 1995, covers an area ≈150m by 250m, with up to 1·2m of sand deposited in a single year. The Niobrara splays are sand dominated and characterized by bedload deposition within channels, 5–30m wide and 0·5–2m deep, with the development of slipfaces where splays prograde into standing bodies of water. Sedimentary structures in cores include horizontal lamination, ripple lamination and sets of cross‐stratification. There is a slight tendency for splays to coarsen up, but individual beds within the splays often fine up. The abundance of crevasse splays on the Niobrara River contrasts with other braided river floodplains. In the Niobrara, crevasse splay formation followed aggradation within the channel belt, which occurred in response to base‐level rise. The link between crevasse splays, channel aggradation and base‐level rise has important implications for the interpretation of ancient braided river and floodplain sequences. It is suggested that crevasse splay deposits should be an important component of aggrading fluvial sediments and, hence, should be preserved within the rock record. In this case, the aggradation and crevassing have been tied to a rise in base‐level elevation, and it is suggested that similar deposits should be preserved where braided rivers are affected by base‐level rise, for instance during transgression and filling of palaeovalleys.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2019 15:20
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:52


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