Sediment loads have been measured in six Swiss mountain torrents over several decades. Most of these torrent catchments are situated in the prealpine belt. They have catchment areas of between 0·5 and 1·7 km2. Bedslopes at the measuring sites vary between 5 and 17 per cent, and peak discharges up to 12 m3 s−1 have been recorded. Geophone sensors installed in the Erlenbach stream allow bedload transport activity to be monitored and sediment volumes associated with each flood event to be determined. A detailed analysis of the measurements in this stream results in an empirical equation in which the sediment load per flood event is expressed as a function of the effective runoff volume (discharges above the threshold for bedload motion) and of the normalized peak discharge. For the total of 143 investigated flood events in the Erlenbach stream, the deviation of the predicted from the measured value is within a factor of two for more than two‐thirds of all events. A distinction can be made between summer and winter events in analysing the bedload transport events. The summer events, mainly caused by thunderstorms, transport comparatively larger sediment loads than the winter events. For the other investigated streams, the periods of the deposited sediment volume surveys cover in general several flood events. An analysis is performed analogous to that for the Erlenbach stream. The sediment loads show a similar dependency on the two factors effective runoff volume and normalized peak discharge. However, the exponents of these factors in the power law expressions differ from stream to stream. A comparison of the investigated stream shows that some of the variation can be explained by considering the bedslope above the measuring site. The inclusion of a bedslope factor is in agreement with laboratory investigations on bedload transport. © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1997
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