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Intense Granular Sheetflow in Steep Streams

Palucis, Marisa C. and Ulizio, Tom and Fuller, Brian and Lamb, Michael P. (2018) Intense Granular Sheetflow in Steep Streams. Geophysical Research Letters, 45 (11). pp. 5509-5517. ISSN 0094-8276.

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Quantifying sediment transport rates in mountainous streams is important for hazard prediction, stream restoration, and landscape evolution. While much of the channel network has steep bed slopes, little is known about the mechanisms of sediment transport for bed slopes between 10% < S < 30%, where both fluvial transport and debris flows occur. To explore these slopes, we performed experiments in a 12‐m‐long sediment recirculating flume with a nearly uniform gravel bed. At 20% and 30% bed gradients, we observed a 4‐to‐10 particle‐diameter thick, highly concentrated sheetflow layer between the static bed below and the more dilute bedload layer above. Sheetflow thickness increased with steeper bed slopes, and particle velocities increased with bed shear velocity. Sheetflows occurred at Shields stresses close to the predicted bedload‐to‐debris flow transition, suggesting a change of behavior from bedload to sheetflow to debris flow as the bed steepens.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Palucis, Marisa C.0000-0003-0034-5810
Ulizio, Tom0000-0001-9685-2926
Fuller, Brian0000-0002-4647-4717
Lamb, Michael P.0000-0002-5701-0504
Additional Information:© 2018 American Geophysical Union. Received 8 FEB 2018; Accepted 22 MAY 2018; Accepted article online 29 MAY 2018; Published online 9 JUN 2018. Funding was provided to M. P. L. by the National Science Foundation grant EAR‐1346115 and EAR‐1558479 and to M. C. P. by a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship EAR‐1452337. We thank Samuel Holo, Brian Zdeb, and Erich Herzig for the help with setting up the experiments, collecting data, and calibrating instruments. We thank Francois Ayoub for the help with developing the OpenCV python script used for dense optical flow particle tracking, and Kimberly Hill for insightful discussions. The experimental data are provided in the supporting information.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:debris flow; steep mountain streams; sheetflow; geomorphology; fluvial sediment transport
Issue or Number:11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180711-150441768
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Palucis, M. C., Ulizio, T., Fuller, B., & Lamb, M. P. (2018). Intense granular sheetflow in steep streams. Geophysical Research Letters, 45, 5509–5517.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:87771
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:11 Jul 2018 22:12
Last Modified:05 Nov 2019 18:05

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