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What controls channel form in steep mountain streams?

Palucis, M. C. and Lamb, M. P. (2017) What controls channel form in steep mountain streams? Geophysical Research Letters, 44 (14). pp. 7245-7255. ISSN 0094-8276.

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Steep mountain streams have channel morphologies that transition from alternate bar to step-pool to cascade with increasing bed slope, which affect stream habitat, flow resistance, and sediment transport. Experimental and theoretical studies suggest that alternate bars form under large channel width-to-depth ratios, step-pools form in near supercritical flow or when channel width is narrow compared to bed grain size, and cascade morphology is related to debris flows. However, the connection between these process variables and bed slope—the apparent dominant variable for natural stream types—is unclear. Combining field data and theory, we find that certain bed slopes have unique channel morphologies because the process variables covary systematically with bed slope. Multiple stable states are predicted for other ranges in bed slope, suggesting that a competition of underlying processes leads to the emergence of the most stable channel form.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Palucis, M. C.0000-0003-0034-5810
Lamb, M. P.0000-0002-5701-0504
Additional Information:© 2017 American Geophysical Union. Received 17 MAY 2017; Accepted 1 JUL 2017; Accepted article online 6 JUL 2017; Published online 18 JUL 2017. Funding was provided to M.P.L. by a National Science Foundation grant (EAR-1349115) and to M.C.P. by a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship (EAR-1452337). We thank Eric Kleinsasser for his work on compiling step-pool data. This work also benefited from insightful comments from two anonymous reviewers. Stream data compiled and used in this work are available in the supporting information.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Postdoctoral FellowshipEAR-1452337
Subject Keywords:sediment transport; mountain channels; bedforms; alternate bars; debris flows; channel morphology
Issue or Number:14
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170831-152004026
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Palucis, M. C., and M. P. Lamb (2017), What controls channel form in steep mountain streams?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 7245–7255, doi:10.1002/2017GL074198
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81046
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:31 Aug 2017 22:26
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:38

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