Self-Organization of River Networks to Threshold States

Talling, Peter J.. 2000 Self-Organization of River Networks to Threshold States. Water Resources Research, 36 (4). 1119-1128.

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Numerical models in which grid‐cells self‐organize, so that the shear stress in each cell equals a predetermined threshold value, are remarkably successful in producing the fundamental structure of river networks. Such models are a reasonable approximation of networks characterized by near‐constant dimensionless shear stress (т* α bed shear stress/bed grain size), with each cell's threshold value being proportional to median‐bed grain size. Previous work has shown that this is the case for channels cut into alluvium, and that the characteristic narrow range of т* is different for gravel‐ and sand‐bed channels. Channels in the Italian Apennines that are slowly incising into weak bedrock, but which are covered by a veneer of gravel for most of the time, are shown to be characterized by the same т* as alluvial gravel‐bed channels. Thus threshold models capture the fundamental behavior of many river networks, even in areas of long‐term bedrock incision.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0043-1397
Date made live: 25 May 2010 09:07 +0 (UTC)

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