Channel bifurcation is a key element in braided rivers, determining the water and sediment distribution and hence controlling the morphological evolution. Recent theoretical and experimental findings, as well as field observations, showed that bifurcations in gravel-bed braided rivers are often asymmetrical and highly unstable. In this paper field data are presented on a bifurcation in the Tagliamento River, northeast Italy. The planform configuration of the bifurcation and its temporal evolution was monitored by an automatic digital camera during a series of seven floods with different magnitudes. This remote sensing technique allowed a high temporal resolution (pictures were acquired every hour) that was proved to be essential in a highly dynamic system as the one considered here. Digitized maps of the channels provided information on the location of the bifurcation, the width of the anabranches, the angle between them, along with the occurrence and migration of sediment bars. Data were acquired at two different water levels, giving the possibility to compare low and high flow conditions. The monitored bifurcation is largely unstable and shows sudden changes in the water distribution, mainly driven by the bar migrating in the upstream channel and entering the distributaries. A relationship between width asymmetry and flood magnitude was observed, confirming previous analyses. Moreover, recent theoretical findings were applied, in order to test the possibility to estimate general trends in bifurcation evolution. The analysis pointed out the relevance of a correct assessment of the characteristic temporal scales, as the bifurcation evolves on a timescale similar to that of bar migration and flood duration. Understanding the interactions between these processes is therefore crucial in order to increase the ability to model and predict the morphological evolution of a braided network.
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|Titolo:||Life of a bifurcation in a gravel-bed braided river|
|Titolo del periodico:||EARTH SURFACE PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS|
|Anno di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-84866333415|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000308875700007|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3279|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03.1 Articolo su rivista (Journal article)|