Fluvial Processes as a Reflection of River Sediment Transport : Examples from Russia
Sediment transport is one of the main elements of fluvial processes; and with it fluvial processes themselves are elements of sediment supply into fivers. The amount of sediment transported by a stream is determined by its carrying capacity, which changes in line with spatial and temporal changes in stream hydraulic characteristics. Correlations between them set the conditions for vertical channel deformation. When a riverbed is composed of heavy material, stream carrying capacity is realized due to horizontal channel deformations. The complexity of correlations between fluvial processes and sediment transport is determined by the transport of the latter in suspended and bed load forms, permanent conversions from one form to another in line with changes in stream hydraulic characteristics along and across the river channel, from the high-water to the low-water period versus the water flow in river branches. Sediment load itself and its magnitude determine the development of channel relief forms and the transformation of straight channels to meandering or braided channels. The main role in channel development is played by bed load flow. The ratio of bed load to suspended load determines changes in morphometric channel characteristics and its stability as well as effects the development of channel meanders and river bifurcations. At the same time, it is important to take into account the proportion of suspended and bed load components and their proportion in channel-forming sediment.
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