Braided Rivers (Geological Society Special Publication 75) by J. L. Best, C. S. Bristow (editors)

By J. L. Best, C. S. Bristow (editors)

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In most braided channel segments the discharge will change as overall discharge changes, but it may not change in the same sense. All of the flow patterns mentioned above will change character with discharge, and new ones arise as a result of discharge variation. With falling discharge, the water flows in a more sinuous course around the emerging bar, resulting in relatively strong across-stream components of depthaveraged flow near the bend entrance, possibly enhanced magnitude of spiral flow, and rapid movement of the maximum depth-averaged velocity from the inner to outer bank.

The crests tend to increase in height and prograde during high flows, particularly near the outer banks where the flow velocities are highest, resulting in increasing Author Q1>Q2 QI+Q2=Q obliquity of the crestlines relative to the flow direction (for the channel geometries of Figs 7 and 9). The crests tend to be eroded at low flow stages, and may become dissected, with higher parts emergent, resulting in a complicated confluence zone (Fig. 9D). These changes in channel geometry are entirely consistent with those that occur in single-channel rivers, where 'riffle' areas tend to be areas of deposition at high flow stages but areas of erosion at low flow stages (Lane & Borland 1954; and many others).

Entrance zones are equivalent to the 'riffle' zones of curved channels, and downstreamdipping avalanche faces (tributary-mouth bars, chute bars) may be present. Such avalanche faces are typically present in natural channels where the confluence angle exceeds 20 ~. However, in straight channels with small width/depth ratios, the confluence angles associated with the confluence between adjacent alternate bars with avalanche faces may be less than 20 ~ (Fig. 1). At the crest of the avalanche faces at high flow stage the depth-averaged flow velocities are GEOMETRY, WATER FLOW, TRANSPORT & DEPOSITION expected to be greatest near the outer banks, and there should be a net across-stream component of flow towards the centre of the confluence throughout the flow depth as curvature-induced secondary flows are negligible (Figs 11 and 12).

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