Share This Article:

Bed Forms and Sediment Characteristics along the Thalweg on the Tanana River near Nenana, Alaska, USA

Abstract Full-Text HTML XML Download Download as PDF (Size:2332KB) PP. 20-30
DOI: 10.4236/nr.2013.41003    3,059 Downloads   5,146 Views   Citations
Author(s)    Leave a comment


Sediment sampling and longitudinal river-bottom surveys were conducted along the thalweg on the Tanana River near the city of Nenana, Alaska, USA, to provide basic information for the engineering design requirements of hydrokinetic devices to be deployed in the area. The study reach was located at approximately 64°33'50"N and 149°04'W. The Tanana is a large glacier-fed river, with open-water flow conditions from May to October. The river presents a single channel in the study area. Granulometric analyses of sediment moving near the riverbed reveals the coexistence of three distinctive types of sediment along the study reach: 1) nearly uniform fine sand; 2) bimodal distributions containing fine sand and medium gravel; and 3) medium gravel. Preliminary relationships between sediment loads and discharge were developed. Dunes with small superimposed dunes were found along the reach. The basic geometric parameters (i.e., wavelength and height) of dunes were measured, and steepness was calculated. In general, dune wavelength increased with increasing discharge. Dune wavelengths ranged from 41 to 67 m, while small-dune wavelengths ranged from 13 to 16 m. Steepness increased slightly with increasing discharge.


Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

H. Toniolo, "Bed Forms and Sediment Characteristics along the Thalweg on the Tanana River near Nenana, Alaska, USA," Natural Resources, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2013, pp. 20-30. doi: 10.4236/nr.2013.41003.


[1] ASCE, “Sedimentation Engineering: Processes, Measurements, Modeling and Practice,” Manual 110, Reston, 2008.
[2] W. Brownlie, “Flow Depth in Sand-Bed Channels,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 109, No. 7, 1983, pp. 959-990. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(1983)109:7(959)
[3] F. Karim, “Bed-Form Geometry in Sand-Bed Flows,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 125, No. 12, 1999, pp. 1253-1261. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(1999)125:12(1253)
[4] N. Marsh, A. Western and R. Grayson, “Comparison of Methods for Predicting Incipient Motion for Sand Beds,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 130, No. 7, 2004, pp. 616-621. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(2004)130:7(616)
[5] S. Wright and G. Parker, “Density Stratification Effects in Sand-Bed Rivers,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 130, No. 8, 2004, pp. 783-795. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(2004)130:8(783)
[6] R. Millar, “Theoretical Regime Equations for Mobile Gravel-Bed Rivers with Stable Banks,” Geomorphology, Vol. 64, No. 3-4, 2005, pp. 207-220. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2004.07.001
[7] O. Navratil, M. Albert, E. Herouin and J. Gresillon, “Determination of Bankfull Discharge Magnitude and Frequency: Comparison of Methods on 16 Gravel-Bed River Reaches,” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 31, No. 11, 2006, pp. 1345-1363. doi:10.1002/esp.1337
[8] G. Parker, “Surface-Based Bedload Transport Relation for Gravel Rivers,” Journal of Hydraulic Research, Vol. 28, No. 4, 1990, pp. 417-436. doi:10.1080/00221689009499058
[9] R. Fernandez, J. Best and F. Lopez, “Mean Flow, Turbulence Structure, and Bedform Superimposition across the Ripple-Dune Transition,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 42, No. 5, 2006, Article ID: W05406.
[10] J. Best, “The Fluid Dynamics of River Dunes: A Review and Some Future Research Directions,” Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 110, No. F4, 2005, Article ID: F04S02. doi:10.1029/2004JF000218
[11] S. Giri and Y. Shimizu, “Numerical Computation of Sand Dune Migration with Free Surface Flow,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 42, No. 10, 2006, Article ID: W10422.
[12] A. Baghlani and N. Talebbeydokhti, “A Mapping Technique for Numerical Computations of Bed Evolutions,” Applied Mathematical Modelling, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2007, pp. 499-512. doi:10.1016/j.apm.2005.11.021
[13] Y. Shimizu, S. Giri, S. Yamaguchi and J. Nelson, “Numerical Simulation of Dune-Flat Bed Transition and Stage-Discharge Relationship with Hysteresis Effect,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 45, No. 4, 2009, Article ID: W04429, doi:10.1029/2008WR006830
[14] M. Amsler, M. Blettler and I. Ezcurra, “Influence of Hydraulic Conditions over Dunes on the Distribution of the Benthic Macroinvertebrates in a Large Sand Bed River,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 45, No. 6, 2009, Article ID: W06426.
[15] R. Batalla and J. Martin-Vide, “Thresholds of Particle Entrainment in a Poorly Sorted Sandy Gravel-Bed River,” Catena, Vol. 44, No. 3, 2001, pp. 223-243. doi:10.1016/S0341-8162(00)00157-0
[16] M. Kleinhans, “The Key Role of Fluvial Dunes in Transport and Deposition of Sand-Gravel Mixtures, a Preliminary Note,” Sedimentary Geology, Vol. 143, No. 1-2, 2001, pp. 7-13. doi:10.1016/S0037-0738(01)00109-9
[17] P. Wilcock and S. Kenworthy, “A Two-Fraction Model for the Transport of Sand/Gravel Mixtures,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 38, No. 10, 2002, p. 1194.
[18] M. Kleinhans and L. Van Rijn, “Stochastic Prediction of Sediment Transport in Sand-Gravel Bed Rivers,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 128, No. 4, 2002, pp. 412-425. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(2002)128:4(412)
[19] Y. Cui, “The Unified Gravel-Sand (TUGS) Model: Simulating Sediment Transport and Gravel/Sand Grain Size Distributions in Gravel-Bedded Rivers,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 43, No. 10, 2007, Article ID: W10436.
[20] W. Carey, “Variability in Measured Bedload-Transport Rates,” Water Resources Bulletin, Vol. 21, No. 1, 1985, pp. 39-48. doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.1985.tb05349.x
[21] R. Batalla, “Evaluating Bed-Material Transport Equations Using Field Measurements in a Sandy Gravel-Bed Stream, Arbucies River, NE Spain,” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 22, No. 2, 1997, pp. 121-130. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1096-9837(199702)22:2<121::AID-ESP671>3.0.CO;2-7
[22] M. de Vries, “On Measuring Discharge and Sediment Transport in Rivers,” International Seminar on Hydraulics of Alluvial Streams, Delft Hydraulics Laboratory, New Delhi, 1973, 15 p.
[23] R. Frings and M. Kleinhans, “Complex Variations in Sediment Transport at Three Large River Bifurcations during Discharge Waves in the River Rhine,” Sedimentology, Vol. 55, No. 5, 2008, pp. 1145-1171. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3091.2007.00940.x
[24] C. Rennie and R. Millar, “Measurement of the Spatial Distribution of Fluvial Bedload Transport Velocity in Both Sand and Gravel,” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 29, No. 10, 2004, pp. 1173-1193. doi:10.1002/esp.1074
[25] W. Emmet, “A Field Calibration of the Sediment Trapping Characteristics of the Helley-Smith Bedload Sampler,” US Geological Survey, Open File Report 79-411, 1979.
[26] J. Brasington, B. Rumsby and R. McVey, “Monitoring and Modeling Morphological Change in a Braided Gravel-Bed River Using High Resolution GPS-Based Survey,” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 25, No. 9, 2000, pp. 973-990. doi:10.1002/1096-9837(200008)25:9<973::AID-ESP111>3.0.CO;2-Y
[27] K. Bunte, S. Abt, J. Potyondy and S. Ryan, “Measurement of Coarse Gravel and Cobble Transport Using Portable Bedload Traps,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 130, No. 9, 2004, pp. 879-893. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(2004)130:9(879)
[28] D. Rickenmann and B. McArdell, “Continuous Measurement of Sediment Transport in the Erlenbach Stream Using Piezoelectric Bedload Impact Sensors,” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 32, 2007, pp. 13621378.
[29] D. Rickenmann, J. Turowski, B. Fritschi, A. Klaiber and A. Ludwig, “Bedload Measurements at the Erlenbach Stream with Geophones and Automated Basket Samplers,” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 37, No. 9, 2012, pp. 1000-1011. doi:10.1002/esp.3225
[30] D. Wren, S. Bennett, B. Barkdoll and R. Kuhnle, “Studies in Suspended Sediment and Turbulence in Open Channel Flows,” US Department of Agriculture, Research Report 18, 2000, 133 p.
[31] H. Toniolo, P. Duvoy, S. Vanlesberg and J. Johnson, “Modeling and Field Measurements in Support of the Hydrokinetic Resource Assessment for the Tanana River at Nenana, Alaska,” Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part A: Journal of Power and Energy, Vol. 224, No. 8, 2010, pp. 1127-1139.
[32] T. Brabets, B. Wang and R. Meade, “Environmental and Hydrologic Overview of the Yukon River Basin, Alaska and Canada,” US Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4204, Anchorage, 2000.
[33] ASTM, “Standard D3977-97,” 2009.
[34] ASTM, “Standard C136-06,” 2010.
[35] G. Parker and D. Andrews, “Sorting of Bed Load Sediment by Flow in Meander Bends,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 21, No. 9, 1985, pp. 1361-1373.
[36] J. Pitlick, “Variability of Bed Load Measurement,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1988, pp. 173-177.
[37] M. Kleinhans and W. Ten Brinke, “Accuracy of CrossChannel Sampled Sediment Transport in Large SandGravel-Bed Rivers,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 127, No. 4, 2001, pp. 258-269. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(2001)127:4(258)
[38] P. Julien and G. Klaassen, “Sand-Dune Geometry of Large Rivers during Floods,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 121, No. 19, 1995, pp. 657-663. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(1995)121:9(657)
[39] J. Bridge, “Rivers and Floodplains: Forms, Processes, and Sedimentary Record,” Blackwell Publishing, Malden, 2003.
[40] G. Ashley, “Classification of Large-Scale Subaqueous Bedforms: A New Look at an Old Problem,” Journal of Sedimentary Research, Vol. 60, No. 1, 1990, pp. 160-172. doi:10.2110/jsr.60.160
[41] P. Julien, G. Klaassen, W. Ten Brinke and A. Wilbers, “Case Study: Bed Resistance of Rhine River during 1998 Flood,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 128, No. 12, 2002, pp. 1042-1050. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(2002)128:12(1042)
[42] M. Amsler and M. Garcia, “Discussion of Sand-Dune Geometry of Large Rivers during Floods by P. Y. Julien and G. J. Klaasen,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 123, No. 6, 1997, pp. 582-584. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(1997)123:6(582)

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2018 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.