A Caltech Library Service

Flow resistance, sediment transport, and bedform development in a steep gravel-bedded river flume

Palucis, Marisa C. and Ulizio, Thomas P. and Fuller, Brian and Lamb, Michael P. (2018) Flow resistance, sediment transport, and bedform development in a steep gravel-bedded river flume. Geomorphology, 320 . pp. 111-126. ISSN 0169-555X. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.08.003.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] MS Excel (Table S1 - Sidewall corrected) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Quantifying flow resistance and sediment transport rates in steep streams is important for flood and debris flow prediction, habitat restoration, and predicting how mountainous landscapes evolve. However, most studies have focused on low gradient rivers and the application of this work is uncertain for steep mountain streams where surface flows are shallow and rough, subsurface flows are not negligible, and there is form-drag from bed- and channel-forms that differs from those in low gradient rivers. To evaluate flow resistance relations and sediment transport rates for steep channel beds, experiments were conducted using a range of water discharges and sediment transport rates in a 12 m long recirculating flume with bed slopes of 10%, 20%, and 30%, and a bed of nearly uniform natural gravel. Flow resistance for planar beds and beds that developed bedforms match empirical models that account for bedload-dependent roughness. Some bedforms were atypical for natural rivers at these bed slopes, such as stepped alternate bars and upstream migrating alternate bars. Total flow resistance increased with decreasing particle submergence and energetic sediment transport and drag on bedforms. Using linear stress partitioning to calculate bed stresses due to grain resistance alone, sediment flux relations developed for lower gradient rivers perform well overall, but they overestimate fluxes at 20% and 30% gradients. Based on previous theory, mass failure of the bed, which did not occur, was predicted for the highest Shields stresses investigated at 20% and 30% bed slopes; instead a concentrated layer, four to ten particle diameters deep, of highly concentrated granular sheetflow was observed.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Palucis, Marisa C.0000-0003-0034-5810
Ulizio, Thomas P.0000-0001-9685-2926
Fuller, Brian0000-0002-4647-4717
Lamb, Michael P.0000-0002-5701-0504
Additional Information:© 2018 Published by Elsevier B.V. Received 20 April 2018, Revised 2 August 2018, Accepted 3 August 2018, Available online 8 August 2018. We thank Samuel Holo, Brian Zdeb, and Erich Herzig for their help with setting up and running several of the flume experiments. All experimental data can be found in the supporting information. Funding was provided to MPL by the National Science Foundation grant EAR-1349115 and EAR-1558479 and to MCP by a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship grant (EAR-1452337). We thank reviewers Michael Church and Jordan Clayton and Editor Scott Lecce for their time and insightful comments, which greatly improved this manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Postdoctoral FellowshipEAR-1452337
Subject Keywords:Flow resistance; Sediment transport; Mountain streams; Alternating bars; Sheetflow; Debris flow
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180808-103601562
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Marisa C. Palucis, Thomas P. Ulizio, Brian Fuller, Michael P. Lamb, Flow resistance, sediment transport, and bedform development in a steep gravel-bedded river flume, Geomorphology, Volume 320, 2018, Pages 111-126, ISSN 0169-555X, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:88657
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Aug 2018 21:08
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 00:28

Repository Staff Only: item control page