Matching Items (3)

Turbulence, sediment transport, erosion, and sandbar beach failure processes in Grand Canyon

Description

This research examines lateral separation zones and sand bar slope stability using two methods: a parallelized turbulence resolving model and full-scale laboratory experiments. Lateral flow separation occurs in rivers where

This research examines lateral separation zones and sand bar slope stability using two methods: a parallelized turbulence resolving model and full-scale laboratory experiments. Lateral flow separation occurs in rivers where banks exhibit strong curvature, for instance canyon rivers, sharp meanders and river confluences. In the Colorado River, downstream Glen Canyon Dam, lateral separation zones are the principal storage of sandbars. Maximum ramp rates have been imposed to Glen Canyon Dam operation to minimize mass loss of sandbars. Assessment of the effect of restricting maximum ramp rates in bar stability is conducted using multiple laboratory experiments. Results reveal that steep sandbar faces would rapidly erode by mass failure and seepage erosion to stable slopes, regardless of dam discharge ramp rates. Thus, continued erosion of sand bars depends primarily of turbulent flow and waves. A parallelized, three-dimensional, turbulence resolving model is developed to study flow structures in two lateral separation zones located along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. The model employs a Detached Eddy Simulation (DES) technique where variables larger than the grid scale are fully resolved, while Sub-Grid-Scale (SGS) variables are modeled. The DES-3D model is validated using ADCP flow measurements and skill metric scores show predictive capabilities of simulated flow. The model reproduces the patterns and magnitudes of flow velocity in lateral recirculation zones, including size and position of primary and secondary eddy cells and return current. Turbulence structures with a predominately vertical axis of vorticity are observed in the shear layer, becoming three-dimensional without preferred orientation downstream. The DES-3D model is coupled with a sediment advection-diffusion formulation, wherein advection is provided by the DES velocity field minus particles settling velocity, and diffusion is provided by the SGS. Results show a lateral recirculation zone having a continuous export and import of sediment from and to the main channel following a pattern of high frequency pulsations of positive deposition fluxes. These high frequency pulsations play an important role to prevent an oversupply of sediment within the lateral separation zones. Improved predictive capabilities are achieved with this model when compared with previous two- and three-dimensional quasi steady and steady models.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Tectonic Geomorphology of the San Gabriel Mountains, CA

Description

The San Gabriel Mountains (SGM) of southern California provide the opportunity to study the topographic controls on erosion rate in a mountain range where climate and lithology are relatively constant.

The San Gabriel Mountains (SGM) of southern California provide the opportunity to study the topographic controls on erosion rate in a mountain range where climate and lithology are relatively constant. I use a combination of digital elevation model data, detailed channel survey data, decadal climate records, and catchment-averaged erosion rates quantified from 10Be concentrations in stream sands to investigate the style and rates of hillslope and channel processes across the transition from soil-mantled to rocky landscapes in the SGM. Specifically, I investigate (1) the interrelations among different topographic metrics and their variation with erosion rate, (2) how hillslopes respond to tectonic forcing in "threshold" landscapes, (3) the role of discharge variability and erosion thresholds in controlling the relationship between relief and erosion rate, and (4) the style and pace of transient adjustment in the western SGM to a recent increase in uplift rate. Millennial erosion rates in the SGM range from 0.03-1.1 mm/a, generally increasing from west to east. For low erosion rates (< 0.3 mm/a), hillslopes tend to be soil-mantled, and catchment-averaged erosion rates are positively correlated with catchment-averaged slope, channel steepness, and local relief. For erosion rates greater than 0.3 mm/a, hillslopes become increasingly rocky, catchment-mean hillslope angle becomes much less sensitive to erosion rate, and channels continue to steepen. I find that a non-linear relationship observed between channel steepness and erosion rate can be explained by a simple bedrock incision model that combines a threshold for erosion with a probability distribution of discharge events where large floods follow an inverse power-law. I also find that the timing of a two-staged increase in uplift rate in the western SGM based on stream profile analysis agrees with independent estimates. Field observations in the same region suggest that the relict topography that allows for this calculation has persisted for more than 7 Ma due to the stalling of migrating knickpoints by locally stronger bedrock and a lack of coarse sediment cover.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Desert fluvial terraces and their relationship with basin development in the Sonoran Desert, basin and range: case studies from south-central Arizona

Description

A fundamental gap in geomorphic scholarship regards fluvial terraces in small desert drainages and those terraces associated with integrating drainages. This dissertation analyzes four field-based case studies within the Sonoran

A fundamental gap in geomorphic scholarship regards fluvial terraces in small desert drainages and those terraces associated with integrating drainages. This dissertation analyzes four field-based case studies within the Sonoran Desert, south-central Arizona, with the overriding purpose of developing a theory to explain the formative processes and spatial distribution of fluvial terraces in the region. Strath terraces are a common form (Chapters 2, 3, 4) and are created at the expense of bounding pediments that occur on the margins of constraining mountainous drainage boundaries (Chapters 1, 2, 3). Base-level fluctuations of the major drainages cause the formation of new straths at lower elevations. Dramatic pediment adjustment and subsequent regrading follows (Chapter 3), where pediments regrade to strath floodplains. This linkage between pediments and their distal straths is termed the pediment-strath relationship. Stability of the base level of the major drainage leads to lateral migration and straths are carved at the expense of bounding pediments through an erosional asymmetry facilitated by differential rock decay between the channel bank and bed. Fill terraces occur within the Salt River drainage basin as a result of the integration processes that connect formerly endorheic basins (Chapter 4). The topographic, spatial, and sedimentologic relationship of the Stewart Mountain terrace (Chapter 4) points to a different genetic origin than the lower terraces in this basin. The high Stewart Mountain fill terrace records the initial integration of this river. The strath terraces inset below the Stewart Mountain terrace are a result of the pediment-strath relationship. These case studies also reveal that the under-addressed drainage processes of piracy and overflow have significant impacts in the evolution of drainages the lead to both strath and fill terrace formation in this region.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013