BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Comparing methods for calculating channel steepness index

    Smith, Adam G.G. and Fox, M. and Schwanghart, W. and Carter, Andrew (2022) Comparing methods for calculating channel steepness index. Earth-Science Reviews 227 (103970), ISSN 0012-8252.

    ksn_accepted.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (60MB) | Preview


    Channel steepness index, ks, is a metric derived from the stream power model that, under certain conditions, scales with relative rock uplift rate. Channel steepness index is a property of rivers, which can be relatively easily extracted from digital elevation models (DEMs). As DEM data sets are widely available for Earth and are becoming more readily available for other planetary bodies, channel steepness index represents a powerful tool for interpreting tectonic processes. However, multiple approaches to calculate channel steepness index exist. From this several important questions arise; does choice of approach change the values of channel steepness index, can values be so different that choice of approach can influence the findings of a study, and are certain approaches better than others? With the aid of a synthetic river pro le and a case study from the Sierra Nevada, California, we show that values of channel steepness index vary over orders of magnitude according to the methodology used in the calculation. We explore the limitations, advantages and disadvantages of the key approaches to calculating channel steepness index, and find that choosing an appropriate approach relies on the context of a study. Given these observations, it is important that authors acknowledge the methodology used to calculate channel steepness index, to ensure that results can be contextualised and reproduced.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: London Geochronology Centre
    Depositing User: Andy Carter
    Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2022 12:01
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:15


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item