Significant spatial variability of water fluxes may exist at the water-sediment interface in river channels and has great influence on a variety of water issues. Understanding the complicated flow systems controlling the flux exchanges along an entire river is often limited due to averaging of parameters or the small number of discrete point measurements usually used. This study investigated the spatial pattern of the hyporheic flux exchange across a river transect in China, using the heat tracing approach. This was done with measurements of temperature at high spatial resolution during a 64-h monitoring period and using the data to identify the spatial pattern of the hyporheic exchange flux with the aid of a one-dimensional conduction-advection-dispersion model (VFLUX). The threshold of neutral exchange was considered as 126 L m−2 d−1 in this study and the heat tracing results showed that the change patterns of vertical hyporheic flux varied with buried depth along the river transect; however, the hyporheic flux was not simply controlled by the streambed hydraulic conductivity and water depth in the river transect. Also, lateral flow dominated the hyporheic process within the shallow high-permeability streambed, while the vertical flow was dominant in the deep low-permeability streambed. The spatial pattern of hyporheic exchange across the river transect was naturally controlled by the heterogeneity of the streambed and the bedform of the stream cross-section. Consequently, a two-dimensional conceptual illustration of the hyporheic process across the river transect is proposed, which could be applicable to river transects of similar conditions.
Hydrogeology Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 2, 2017
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