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Open AccessArticle

Assessing Controls on the Displacement of Tracers in Gravel-Bed Rivers

INDUROT, University of Oviedo, Campus de Mieres, s/n 33600 Mieres, Spain
Department of Geology, University of Oviedo, c\ Jesús Arias de Velasco, s/n 33005 Oviedo, Spain
Fluvial Dynamics Research Group (RIUS), University of Lleida, 25003 Lleida, Catalonia, Spain
Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA), 17241 Girona, Catalonia, Spain
Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y Recursos Naturales, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia 14101, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(8), 1598;
Received: 8 July 2019 / Revised: 28 July 2019 / Accepted: 29 July 2019 / Published: 31 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Hydraulics)
Particle travel length is one of the main dimensions of bedload and strongly influences river morpho-dynamics, particularly when exploring the interactions between sediment transport and channel morphology. This process has been traditionally studied by using tagged stones that allow tracking the movement experienced by individual grains during transport episodes. In this paper, we relate measured particle travel lengths to flow metrics and river channel parameters. First, we link the event-based bedload volumes to the active-layer dimensions, and the product between the average bedload rates and the duration of competent flows. We then hypothesize that travel length depends on channel width, surface grain-size, particle size, bed structure, flow strength, and duration of competent flow. The results from this approach are, subsequently, tested with a set of tracer observations from eight rivers that were available in the literature. The relationship between travel length and flow metrics was found to be statistically strong and has the potential to allow us to quantitatively assess the one-day dynamics of particles moving along streambeds. We also analyzed the influence of channel morphology and bed structure and identified morphological signatures for particle transport in gravel-bed rivers. View Full-Text
Keywords: gravel-bed rivers; bedload; particle travel length; tracers gravel-bed rivers; bedload; particle travel length; tracers
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Vázquez-Tarrío, D.; Batalla, R.J. Assessing Controls on the Displacement of Tracers in Gravel-Bed Rivers. Water 2019, 11, 1598.

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