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Open AccessArticle

Sediment Grain-Size Characteristics and its Sources of Ten Wind-Water Coupled Erosion Tributaries (the Ten Kongduis) in the Upper Yellow River

1,2 and 1,*
Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Key Laboratory of Agricultural Water Resources, Hebei Key Laboratory of Agricultural Water-Saving, Center for Agricultural Resources Research, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shijiazhuang 050021, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(1), 115;
Received: 12 December 2018 / Revised: 5 January 2019 / Accepted: 5 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water Quality and Ecosystems)
PDF [1561 KB, uploaded 10 January 2019]


Understanding the composition and sources of deposited sediments in watersheds has great significance on exploring the processes of sediment erosion and deposition, and controlling soil losses in rivers. In this paper, we investigate the grain-size composition parameters and their reflections on sediment erosion, transport and deposition processes in the Ten Kongduis, which are large arroyos carrying a large volume of coarse sediment into the upper Yellow River. The sediments delivered by the Ten Kongduis come from three kinds of sources, including the clasolite (mudstone, sandstone and conglomerate) and loess in the upstream reaches and the aeolian sand in the middle stream reaches. A portion of the sediments is carried to the Yellow River and another portion is deposited in the alluvial fans in the lower reaches of the kongduis. We found two types of deposits in the drilling cores on the alluvial fans and in the sediment profiles, i.e., the sediments deposited by hyperconcentrated flows and those by non-hyperconcentrated or ordinary sediment-laden flows. The deposits of hyperconcentrated flows were only found in some natural sediment profiles exposed on the riverbank slopes. They have a mean size in a narrow range of 0.016-0.063 mm but are very or extremely poorly sorted according to nine samples collected from four kongduis. Most of the sediments carried by the non-hyperconcentrated flows have a mean grain size in the range of 0.05–0.25 mm. We calculated the contributions of sediment from the sources using the grain-size fingerprint method based on grain-size data of the sediment sources and deposits in the alluvial fans for both the hyperconcentrated flows and non-hyperconcentrated flows. It was found that a proportion of 69% or above of sediment carried by the hyperconcentrated flows mainly comes from the clasolite and loess strata in the upper reaches, and 8%–31% from the desert in the middle reaches. The clasolite and loess strata contribute 64%, on average, of the particles above 0.05 mm carried by the hyperconcentrated flows, and the desert in the middle reaches contributes the other 36% or so. The sediments carried by non-hyperconcentrated flows down to the alluvial fans come from the clasolite, loess and dune sand in different proportions in different kongduis with the contributions of both clasolite and dune sand being related roughly to the ratio of upper drainage area to the width of desert in the middle reaches of kongduis. Over 90% of the sediments carried by the non-hyperconcentrated flows into the Yellow River are below 0.05 mm. View Full-Text
Keywords: the Yellow River; grain size; sediment sources; Ten Kongduis; hyperconcentrated flows the Yellow River; grain size; sediment sources; Ten Kongduis; hyperconcentrated flows

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Yang, H.; Shi, C. Sediment Grain-Size Characteristics and its Sources of Ten Wind-Water Coupled Erosion Tributaries (the Ten Kongduis) in the Upper Yellow River. Water 2019, 11, 115.

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