Landscape Dynamics and Fluvial Geomorphology

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2024 | Viewed by 8835

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China
Interests: drainage landform evolution; valley development; fluvial terrace; paleohydrology; patterns of alluvial rivers; the history of the study of landforms

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Guest Editor
College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Lanzhou, Lanzhou, China
Interests: sediment transport; morpho-dynamics; turbulence and vortex dynamics; fluid-structure interaction; wake flow structure of hydrokinetic turbine
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
1. International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals, Beijing 100094, China
2. Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100094, China
Interests: fluvia processes; river channel change; sediment transport; landscape evolution; hydromorphology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The evolution of drainage landscapes as well as the processes of weathering and terrestrial erosion have changed significantly due to tectonic movement, climate change, human activities and so on. The equilibrium state of sediment transportation in rivers is also disturbed as a result. Although river systems generally alter their landform to respond and adjust to these changes, it is necessary to study the dynamical process of fluvial geomorphology evolution. With the development of dating, satellite photogrammetry, and numerical simulation technology, we can gain a scientific perception of landscape evolution. However, the dynamical mechanism of this process is still unclear. In order to further understand the evolution process as well as improve the theoretical system of river geomorphology, we are planning a Special Issue to showcase the latest scientific research on landscape dynamics and fluvial geomorphology.

The potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Valley development and its response to tectonic and climatic events.
  • Paleohydrology and its research methods.
  • River channel change during past decades.
  • Landscape evolution in response to climate and tectonics.
  • The influence of sediment mobility on drainage basin evolution.
  • The influence of fluvial evolution on the hydrodynamical environment.
  • State-of-the-art techniques, including remote sensing, mathematical modelling, and analysis.
  • Geomorphological theory.

Prof. Dr. Hongshan Gao
Dr. Yaling Chen
Dr. Yuanxu Ma
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • valley development
  • fluvial terrace
  • paleohydrology
  • patterns of alluvial rivers
  • landscape evolution
  • river channel change
  • sediment transport
  • drainage basin dynamics

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 7518 KiB  
Article
Evolution of the Pingluo Section of the Upper Yellow River over the Past 50 Years: Responses to Environmental Change and Human Activity
by Shuyu Liang, Tianqi Yan, Hongshan Gao, Chuantao Jing, Fei He and Meiqin Han
Water 2024, 16(6), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16060911 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 896
Abstract
The instability of the river channels has increased in response to the combined effects of global warming and human activity. This instability threatens the lives and property of people who live along river courses. This study takes the Pingluo section of the upper [...] Read more.
The instability of the river channels has increased in response to the combined effects of global warming and human activity. This instability threatens the lives and property of people who live along river courses. This study takes the Pingluo section of the upper Yellow River, which is ~28 km long and ~400 m wide, as its research focus. We studied 11 periods of Landsat remote sensing images from 1973 to 2023 and analyzed the evolutionary characteristics of the Pingluo section over the past 50 years. The channel morphology indices included the channel braiding index (BIT), the bar braiding index (BIB), the average area of the bar (Ab), and the width of the wet channel area (BW). The results showed that there was an overall shrinking trend in this section of the Yellow River; more particularly, fluctuations in indicators such as the river width and the braiding index highlighted an increasing–decreasing–increasing pattern of change. During the 1973–1986 period, the river showed a widening trend, with narrow anabranches cutting through the floodplain and both the river width and the braiding index increasing dramatically over a short period. Over the 1986–2018 period, the area of the wet channel continued to shrink to its lowest level for the past 50 years, the river’s branches were diverted and abandoned, and the channel tended to straighten out. Between 2018 and 2023, the river showed a slightly expanding trend. The evolution of the river channel appears to be related to regional human activity and climate change. For example, after the joint filling of the Longyangxia and Liujiaxia reservoirs in the upper reaches of the Pingluo section of the Yellow River in 1986, runoff and sediment load along this section decreased, flood events became less frequent, and the channel tended to contract. In addition, the increase in extreme precipitation events over the last five years has led to an increase in the magnitude and frequency of peak discharge values in the region, which is the main reason for the increase in the river braiding index and area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Dynamics and Fluvial Geomorphology)
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16 pages, 5554 KiB  
Article
A Method for Estimating the Hydrodynamic Values of Anastomosing Rivers: The Expression of Channel Morphological Parameters
by Suiji Wang
Water 2024, 16(1), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16010163 - 31 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1021
Abstract
An anastomosing river is a stable multiple-channel system separated by inter-channel wetlands, and there are serious difficulties in observing the hydrodynamics of such river patterns in situ. Therefore, there are few reports on the hydrodynamic data of such rivers, for example, the upper [...] Read more.
An anastomosing river is a stable multiple-channel system separated by inter-channel wetlands, and there are serious difficulties in observing the hydrodynamics of such river patterns in situ. Therefore, there are few reports on the hydrodynamic data of such rivers, for example, the upper Columbia and Pearl Rivers. In order to obtain the hydrodynamic parameter values at flow cross-sections of anastomosing rivers, without having to observe hydraulic radius, this study proposes a method called the Expression of Channel Morphological Parameters (ECMP) for hydrodynamic estimation. The calculation formula of the ECMP method is based on the shape factor (width–depth ratio), scale factor (mean depth), and gradient factor of the channel cross-sections of anastomosing rivers below a given water level as independent variables. This method can be used to calculate the mean velocity, discharge, specific stream power, and gross stream power of the flow cross-section at different water levels, only requiring the measurements of channel morphological parameters such as the mean depth, width–depth ratio, and gradient at the channel cross-section below the corresponding water level. The applicability of the ECMP method was verified using measured hydrological data. The results showed that the ECMP method is a practical estimation method with higher accuracy that is convenient for calculating the hydrodynamic parameters of anastomosing rivers. It can also be used to reconstruct ancient anastomosing rivers using the channel morphological parameters revealed from the fill sediments in ancient channels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Dynamics and Fluvial Geomorphology)
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16 pages, 9337 KiB  
Article
Paleoflood Reconstruction in the Lower Yellow River Floodplain (China) Based on Sediment Grain Size and Chemical Composition
by Jinsong Yang, Zhe Liu, Jinhui Yin, Liang Tang, Hua Zhao, Lei Song and Peng Zhang
Water 2023, 15(24), 4268; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15244268 - 13 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 983
Abstract
Alluvial sedimentary records in the North China Plain are essential in expanding flood history and understanding hazard patterns in the Yellow River basin where inundation risk exists and would probably increase under future global change. A detailed study of the Longwangmiao profile in [...] Read more.
Alluvial sedimentary records in the North China Plain are essential in expanding flood history and understanding hazard patterns in the Yellow River basin where inundation risk exists and would probably increase under future global change. A detailed study of the Longwangmiao profile in the lower Yellow River floodplain reveals ancient flooding records over the late Holocene. Slackwater deposits are distinguished by typical sedimentary features and share similarities with those in the upper and middle Yellow River. This indicates that the traditional method can still be applied for paleoflood research beyond the gorge. However, unlike confined bedrock gorges, multiphase flood deposits of slackwater and overbank deposits represent different stages of flood events. These sedimentary assemblages recorded six flooding periods, further confirmed by the analysis of grain size and geochemistry. The profile was broadly subdivided into two flood-poor phases (3.7–6.7 ka, 0.8–1.7 ka) and three flood-rich phases (before 6.7 ka, 1.7–3.7 ka, after 0.8 ka) based on the dating results. Compared with the existing related research in the nearby area, the synchronous deposition cycles of floods and inter-floods are mainly controlled by the hydrodynamic conditions of the old Yellow River course. This study provides an analogue of paleoflood research in the lower Yellow River and similar alluvial plains. It explores the potential of interlinking paleoflood records in the whole Yellow River basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Dynamics and Fluvial Geomorphology)
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15 pages, 5687 KiB  
Article
Shrinking Desert Channel Response to Increasing Human Interferences and Changing Natural Factors in the Upper Yellow River
by Yongshan Li, Xiaopeng Jia, Haibing Wang, Jian Wang and Qimin Ma
Water 2023, 15(24), 4226; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15244226 - 8 Dec 2023
Viewed by 797
Abstract
Many rivers are tightly coupled and intersected with aeolian sand dunes, whose geomorphological evolution involves not only fluvial processes but also aeolian processes that pose a new challenge to fluvial geomorphological studies. However, due to few field studies, our overall understanding of the [...] Read more.
Many rivers are tightly coupled and intersected with aeolian sand dunes, whose geomorphological evolution involves not only fluvial processes but also aeolian processes that pose a new challenge to fluvial geomorphological studies. However, due to few field studies, our overall understanding of the desert channel geomorphic process is limited. In this paper, we present an outstanding example of desert river channel evolution regulated by aeolian–fluvial interactions in the Ulan Buh Desert of the Yellow River, based on a long time series data set (1966–2019) of channel cross-sections. The results indicate that the lateral addition of aeolian sand, the water–sediment relationship and human interference have a significant role at different periods of channel evolution. Before 1986, higher discharge, lower sediment content and greater intensity of aeolian activity caused aeolian–fluvial interactions and a relative scouring and silting balance in the channel, with little human activity. From 1986 to 2000, an increase in large reservoir operation, vegetation coverage and floodplain farming, coupled with water–sediment relationship variation, caused rapid deposition and shrinkage of the river channel. From 2000 to 2014, the channel kept a slight scouring state. With Haibowan reservoir operation beginning in 2014, the talweg experienced rapid scouring and undercut rebound. However, an expanding and stable floodplain accelerated sedimentation on the floodplain and weakened river lateral erosion, indicating that the channel has shown a shrinkage trend. Meanwhile, wavelet analysis results indicate that human interferences and aeolian activities have no significant role in the periodical characteristics of the channel’s longitudinal erosion and deposition. Therefore, on the whole, increasing human interferences and decreasing wind dynamics have driven this desert wandering channel to be stable, and to gradually form a new balance between erosion and sedimentation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Dynamics and Fluvial Geomorphology)
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13 pages, 4739 KiB  
Article
Sedimentary Sequence and Age of Core NTCJ1 in the Sheyang Estuary, Western South Yellow Sea: A Re-Interpretation
by Fei Xia, Yongzhan Zhang, Li Wang and Dezheng Liu
Water 2023, 15(20), 3617; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15203617 - 16 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 832
Abstract
The Sheyang estuary is located on the northern Jiangsu muddy coast, in the western South Yellow Sea, and in the transition area between the eroded coast of the abandoned Yellow River delta and the silted coast of the central Jiangsu. This area is [...] Read more.
The Sheyang estuary is located on the northern Jiangsu muddy coast, in the western South Yellow Sea, and in the transition area between the eroded coast of the abandoned Yellow River delta and the silted coast of the central Jiangsu. This area is also one of the key areas of interactions between the paleo-Yellow River and paleo-Changjiang River during the late Quaternary. In order to investigate deeply the late Quaternary sedimentary sequence models of coasts and continental shelves under the interactions of the above two large rivers, the sedimentary sequence and age of the core NTCJ1 drilled at the Sheyang estuary were re-examined and re-interpreted recently, based on the existing data on lithology, grain size, ostracods, foraminifera, clay minerals, geochemical elements, and Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) dating, together with other adjacent key cores and shallow seismic profiles. The three new perspectives were summarized as follows: Firstly, the 22.00 m-long core NTCJ1 recorded the evolution of the sedimentary environments since Marine Isotope Stage 5 (MIS 5), and the first continental facies layer formed in MIS 4-2 is supposed to be missing; therefore, the MIS 1 marine facies layer directly overlays on the MIS 5 marine facies layer. Furthermore, the second continental facies layer formed in MIS 6 and/or the stage of the relatively low sea-level of MIS 5 has not been drilled yet. Secondarily, the middle-upper part of the NTCJ1 core sediments (0.00–17.95 m) are characterized by a finer grain, with a predominantly silty texture and dark yellow tone, and from bottom to top it shows a change from fine to coarse and then to fine in grain size, which could be substantially interpreted as the abandoned Yellow River deltaic deposits mainly formed in 1128–1855 CE, and may contain a small amount of Holocene coastal-shallow marine deposits at the bottom; however, it is difficult to identify them currently. Thirdly, the lower part of the NTCJ1 core sediments (17.95–22.00 m) have not yet been drilled through and are characterized by a coarser grain, with a predominantly fine sandy texture and dark grey tone, which could be interpreted as a delta front deposit in the MIS 5 tidal estuary and were obviously influenced by the paleo-Yellow River. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Dynamics and Fluvial Geomorphology)
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19 pages, 5305 KiB  
Article
Geochronological and Sedimentological Study of the Fluvio-Lacustrine Deposits from Shigu to Longjie: Implications for the Evolution of the Lower Jinsha River since the Early Pleistocene
by Fenliang Liu, Hongshan Gao, Zongmeng Li, Changjun Huang, Zhen Xi and Yun Xue
Water 2023, 15(20), 3613; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15203613 - 16 Oct 2023
Viewed by 828
Abstract
The formation of the Jinsha River drainage is a significant subject of concern in the geological and geomorphological fields. Among them, one key question is whether there was a regional paleo lake into which Lower Jinsha River drainage drained during the late Pliocene [...] Read more.
The formation of the Jinsha River drainage is a significant subject of concern in the geological and geomorphological fields. Among them, one key question is whether there was a regional paleo lake into which Lower Jinsha River drainage drained during the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene, due to massive fluvio-lacustrine sediments widely distributed in the Lower Jinsha River. Nevertheless, there has yet to be a consensus on the genesis of those fluvio-lacustrine sediments due to poor sedimentological and chronological data. In this study, to unravel the origin of those fluvio-lacustrine sediments and the formation model of the Lower Jinsha River, sedimentary characteristics, including spatial distribution, lithological composition, and stratigraphic contact relationship of those fluvio-lacustrine sediments were analyzed, and chronological determination of the fluvio-lacustrine sediments using Electron Spin Resonance and Optically stimulated luminescence method was conducted. The results show that in the Lower Jinsha River, the lacustrine sediments are mainly composed of silt and clay, with apparent horizontal bedding, stacked with fluvial cobble-gravel and sand, and are in unconformable contact with the underlying bedrock strata or paleo soil. The lacustrine sediments are spatially discontinuous and mainly distributed in the Shigu, Taoyuan, Panzhihua, and Longjie reaches. Downstream of these reaches are deeply incised gorges with an average slope >30°, and many landslide landforms and deposits can be identified here. In each reach, the lacustrine sediments were closely distributed along the trunk and tributary channels in the plane and were distributed at different altitudes, forming a sequence of lacustrine terraces. Chronological analysis shows that in different reaches, the deposition ages of lacustrine sediments are significantly different. In each reach, the deposition age of the lacustrine terraces of high altitude is older than that of low altitude. The above characteristics collectively indicate that the lacustrine sediments in the Lower Jinsha River were locally deposited by individual dammed lakes, probably induced by landslide rather than a regional paleo lake by tectonic activities. During the incision process of the river valley, landslides continuously block the river channel, forming dammed lakes, and then deposited lacustrine sediments at different elevations, forming lacustrine terraces. The lacustrine sediment of the topmost lacustrine terrace in Panzhihua reach was dated to be 1.78 Ma, combined with previous studies on the fluvial terraces, indicating the Lower Jinsha River existed and started to incise its valley before the early Pleistocene. The widespread dammed lake sediment indicates that the formation of the Jinsha River valley follows the pattern of “incision-landslide-damming-aggradation-incision”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Dynamics and Fluvial Geomorphology)
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13 pages, 5478 KiB  
Article
Modeling Wetland Functions: Is Space-to-Time Substitution of the Perimeter–Area Relationship Appropriate?
by Junehyeong Park, Mukesh Kumar and C. Nathan Jones
Water 2023, 15(19), 3445; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15193445 - 30 Sep 2023
Viewed by 716
Abstract
Wetlands’ morphometric or shape properties, such as their area and perimeter, impact a multitude of ecosystem functions and services. However, current models used to quantify these functions often only use area as an independent variable, as the static area and perimeter of different [...] Read more.
Wetlands’ morphometric or shape properties, such as their area and perimeter, impact a multitude of ecosystem functions and services. However, current models used to quantify these functions often only use area as an independent variable, as the static area and perimeter of different wetlands have been found to be closely related. The study uses monthly inundation maps, derived from remote sensing data, to assess the temporal covariation of geographically isolated wetlands’ perimeter and surface area. The results show that using static representations of wetlands to evaluate temporal dynamic perimeter–area relationships can introduce significant discrepancies and that these discrepancies can be reduced if evaluations using static data are performed separately for each wetlandscape. This study concludes that models that use implicit area–perimeter relationships based on static wetland representations, as is usually the case, should be applied with caution. Additionally, it suggests that incorporating perimeter–area relationships from temporally dynamic data can improve estimates of wetland functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Dynamics and Fluvial Geomorphology)
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18 pages, 11508 KiB  
Article
Fluvial Responses to Late Quaternary Climate Change in a Humid and Semi-Humid Transitional Area: Insights from the Upper Huaihe River, Eastern China
by Zongmeng Li, Yixuan Wang, Wenmin Zhu, Hongshan Gao, Fenliang Liu, Wei Xing, Chenguang Zhang, Qiang Qiao and Xiaoying Lei
Water 2023, 15(9), 1767; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15091767 - 4 May 2023
Viewed by 1570
Abstract
Research into river processes in different climatic and geomorphic areas is vital for a clearer understanding of the non-linear responses of rivers to climate change. The Huaihe River (HHR) Basin, located in China’s North–South Transition Zone (NSTZ), provides an ideal environment in which [...] Read more.
Research into river processes in different climatic and geomorphic areas is vital for a clearer understanding of the non-linear responses of rivers to climate change. The Huaihe River (HHR) Basin, located in China’s North–South Transition Zone (NSTZ), provides an ideal environment in which to explore river responses to climate change within a humid/semi-humid transitional area. Based on optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) and 14C dating, combined with sedimentary stratigraphic analyses, we reconstructed the river processes of three sedimentary sequences in the upper HHR since the Late Quaternary. Our results showed that the upper HHR was characterized by aggrading meandering channels from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to 0.5 ka, and an aggrading wandering channel from 0.2 ka to the present. Two periods of downcutting occurred during 5.8–3.0 and 0.5–0.2 ka, respectively. The river incision is potentially linked to changes in the climate during the Mid–Late Holocene transition and the Little Ice Age (LIA). However, there have been no marked changes in channel patterns in the upper HHR since the LGM. This phenomenon reflects the influence of vegetation on channel patterns during climate change. Our results showed that the fluvial processes in different climatic and geomorphic areas are controlled by the local hydroclimatic regime. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Dynamics and Fluvial Geomorphology)
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