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Open AccessArticle

Investigating Fold-River Interactions for Major Rivers Using a Scheme of Remotely Sensed Characteristics of River and Fold Geomorphology

Energy and Environment Institute, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX, UK
Department of Surveying and Geoinformatics, Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental Engineering (FGEE), Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 611756, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(17), 2037;
Received: 10 July 2019 / Revised: 24 August 2019 / Accepted: 24 August 2019 / Published: 29 August 2019
There are frequently interactions between active folds and major rivers (mean annual water discharges > 70 m3s−1). The major river may incise across the fold, to produce a water gap across the fold, or a bevelling (or lateral planation) of the top of the fold. Alternatively, the major river may be defeated to produce a diversion of the river around the fold, with wind gaps forming across the fold in some cases, or ponding of the river behind the fold. Why a river incises or diverts is often unclear, though influential characteristics and processes have been identified. A new scheme for investigating fold-river interactions has been devised, involving a short description of the major river, climate, and structural geology, and 13 characteristics of river and fold geomorphology: (1) Channel width at location of fold axis, w, (2) Channel-belt width at location of fold axis, cbw, (3) Floodplain width at location of fold axis, fpw, (4) Channel sinuosity, Sc, (5) Braiding index, BI, (6) General river course direction, RCD, (7) Distance from fold core to location of river crossing, C-RC, (8) Distance from fold core to river basin margin, C-BM, (9) Width of geological structure at location of river crossing, Wgs, (10) Estimate of erosion resistance of surface sediments/rocks and deeper sediments/rocks in fold, ERs, ERd, (11) Channel water surface slope at location of fold axis, s, (12) Average channel migration rate, Rm, (13) Estimate of fold total uplift rate, TUR. The first 10 geomorphological characteristics should be readily determinable for almost all major rivers using widely available satellite imagery and fine scale geological maps. This use of remote sensing allows a large number of major rivers to be investigated relatively easily, including those in remote or inaccessible areas, without recourse to expensive fieldwork. The last three geomorphological characteristics should be determinable for most major rivers where other data sources are available. This study demonstrates the methodology of this scheme, using the example of the major rivers Karun and Dez interacting with active folds in the foreland basin tectonic setting of lowland south-west Iran. For the rivers Karun and Dez (mean annual water discharges 575 m3s−1 and 230 m3s−1, respectively), it was found that geomorphological characteristics Nos. 2, 3 and 7 had statistically significant differences (p-value ≤ 0.05) between the categories of river incision across a fold and river diversion around a fold. This scheme should be used to investigate a variety of major rivers from across the globe. By comparing the same parameters for different major rivers, a better understanding of fold-river interactions will be achieved. View Full-Text
Keywords: major river; fold; geomorphology; interactions; remote sensing; characteristics; Karun; Dez; Iran major river; fold; geomorphology; interactions; remote sensing; characteristics; Karun; Dez; Iran
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MDPI and ACS Style

Woodbridge, K.P.; Pirasteh, S.; Parsons, D.R. Investigating Fold-River Interactions for Major Rivers Using a Scheme of Remotely Sensed Characteristics of River and Fold Geomorphology. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 2037.

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