In contrast to non-cohesive sediments, the incipient motion of cohesive sediments is characterized by much more complex interactions between several sedimentary, biological, and chemical parameters. Thus, site-specific investigations are required to obtain information about the erosion stability of cohesive materials. This becomes even more relevant for contaminated sediments, stored in riverine sediments as a “burden of the past”, because of their remobilization potential during flood events. This article represents a twofold measuring strategy for the detection of erosion thresholds: an in situ
device for determination of critical shear stresses in the field, and a laboratory approach where sediment cores are withdrawn and subsequently analyzed over depth. The combined measuring strategy was applied in the River Elbe and at selected sites of the catchment of the River Saale. The results show a great variety of erosion thresholds over depth, demonstrating the need to conduct vertical analyses, especially when addressing buried layers with contaminations. The latter is only possible in the laboratory but the in situ
device revealed clear benefits in capturing the loose flocculent layer on top of the sediment that might be easily lost during sediment retrieval and transport. Consequently, it is ideal to combine both approaches for a comprehensive insight into sediment stability.
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