Stable fluvial armors are found in river systems under conditions of partial sediment transport and limited sediment supply, a common occurrence in nature. Stable armoring is also readily recreated in experimental flumes. Initially, this bed stabilizing phenomenon was examined for different flow discharges and solely related to surface coarsening and bedload transport reduction. The models developed suggest a specific armor composition (i.e., texture) dependent on the parent bed material and formative discharge. Following developments in topographic remote sensing, recent research suggests that armor structure is an important control on bed stability and roughness. In this paper, replicated flume runs during which digital elevation models (DEMs) were collected from both exposed and flooded gravel beds are used to interpret armoring manifestations and to assess their replicability. A range of methodologies was used for the analysis, providing information on (i) surface grain size and orientation, (ii) bed-elevation distributions, (iii) the spatial coherence of the elevations at the grain-scale, (iv) surface slope and aspect, (v) grain imbrication and (vi) the spatial variability in DEM properties. The bed-surface topography was found to be more responsive than bed-material size to changes in flow strength. Our experimental results also provide convincing evidence that gravel-beds' response to water-work during parallel degradation is unique (i.e., replicable) given the formative parameters. Based on this finding, relationships between the armors' properties and formative parameters are proposed, and are supported by adding extensive data from previous research.
Geomorphology – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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