13.3 currently Erosion and Deposition

As we discussed in chapter 6, flow water is a really important device for both erosion and deposition. Water circulation in a present is mostly related to the stream’s gradient, but it is additionally controlled by the geometry of the present channel. As shown in figure 13.14, water circulation velocity is diminished by friction along the currently bed, so the is slowest at the bottom and edges and also fastest close to the surface and also in the middle. In fact, the velocity just listed below the surface is generally a little greater than best at the surface because of friction in between the water and the air. Top top a curved ar of a stream, circulation is faster on the outside and also slowest on the inside.

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Figure 13.14 The family member velocity of currently flow relying on whether the present channel is right or bent (left), and with respect to the water depth (right).

Other factors that impact stream-water velocity room the size of sediments ~ above the stream bed — because large particles tend to sluggish the flow much more than little ones — and also the discharge, or volume the water passing a suggest in a unit of time (e.g., m3/second). During a flood, the water level constantly rises, so there is an ext cross-sectional area for the water to circulation in; however, as lengthy as a river remains confined to its channel, the velocity that the water flow also increases.

Figure 13.15 reflects the nature that sediment transportation in a stream. Huge particles rest on the bottom — bedload — and may only be moved throughout rapid flows under overwhelming conditions. They can be relocated by saltation (bouncing) and by traction (being driven along by the pressure of the flow).

Smaller particles may rest ~ above the bottom some of the time, whereby they can be relocated by saltation and also traction, however they can additionally be held in suspension in the flowing water, especially at greater velocities. As you recognize from intuition and also from experience, streams the flow quick tend come be stormy (flow courses are chaotic and also the water surface shows up rough) and the water might be muddy, if those that flow an ext slowly tend to have actually laminar circulation (straight-line flow and a smooth water surface) and also clear water. Turbulent flow is an ext effective than laminar flow at keeping sediments in suspension.

Stream water additionally has a liquified load, which represents (on average) around 15% the the mass of material transported, and includes ion such together calcium (Ca+2) and also chloride (Cl-) in solution. The solubility the these ion is not influenced by flow velocity.

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Figure 13.15 settings of transport of sediments and also dissolved ion (represented by red dots with + and – signs) in a stream.

The faster the water is flowing, the larger the particles that can be retained in suspension and also transported in ~ the flow water. However, as Swedish geographer Filip Hjulström uncovered in the 1940s, the relationship between grain size and the likelihood the a grain being eroded, transported, or deposit is not as basic as one might imagine (Figure 13.16). Consider, because that example, a 1 mm serial of sand. If that is resting on the bottom, the will remain there till the velocity is high enough to erode it, roughly 20 cm/s. However once that is in suspension, that exact same 1 mm fragment will stay in suspension as long as the velocity no drop listed below 10 cm/s. Because that a 10 mm gravel grain, the velocity is 105 cm/s to it is in eroded from the bed however only 80 cm/s to stay in suspension.

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Figure 13.16 The Hjulström-Sundborg diagram mirroring the relationships in between particle size and the tendency to be eroded, transported, or deposited at different current velocities

On the other hand, a 0.01 mm silt particle only demands a velocity the 0.1 cm/s to stay in suspension, yet requires 60 cm/s to it is in eroded. In various other words, a small silt grain calls for a greater velocity to it is in eroded than a serial of sand that is 100 time larger! for clay-sized particles, the discrepancy is even greater. In a stream, the most conveniently eroded particles are little sand grains between 0.2 mm and also 0.5 mm. Anything smaller or larger requires a higher water velocity to be eroded and entrained in the flow. The main reason for this is that small particles, and especially the tiny grains the clay, have a strong tendency come stick together, and so are challenging to erode indigenous the stream bed.

It is necessary to be aware that a stream can both erode and deposit sediments in ~ the exact same time. At 100 cm/s, for example, silt, sand, and medium gravel will certainly be eroded native the stream bed and transported in suspension, outlet gravel will be held in suspension, pebbles will certainly be both transported and also deposited, and cobbles and also boulders will remain stationary top top the currently bed.


Exercise 13.3 expertise the Hjulström-Sundborg Diagram

Refer to the Hjulström-Sundborg diagram (Figure 13.16) to answer these questions.

1. A well sand serial (0.1 mm) is relaxing on the bottom the a currently bed.

(a) What present velocity will it take it to gain that sand grain into suspension?

(b) when the bit is in suspension, the velocity starts to drop. In ~ what velocity will certainly it finally come earlier to remainder on the currently bed?

2. A currently is flowing at 10 cm/s (which method it bring away 10 s to walk 1 m, and that’s nice slow).

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(a) What dimension of particles deserve to be eroded in ~ 10 cm/s?

(b) What is the biggest particle that, once currently in suspension, will stay in suspension at 10 cm/s?


A stream generally reaches its best velocity when it is close come flooding end its banks. This is known as the bank-full stage, as displayed in number 13.17. As soon as the flooding stream overtops the banks and occupies the vast area the its overwhelming plain, the water has actually a much larger area to flow through and the velocity fall significantly. In ~ this point, sediment that was being lugged by the high-velocity water is deposited close to the sheet of the channel, developing a natural financial institution or levée.

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Figure 13.17 The development of herbal levées during flooding the a stream. The sediments the the levée end up being increasingly fine away from the present channel, and even finer sediments — clay, silt, and also fine sand — are deposited across most that the overwhelming plain.