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Fluvial Meanders And Their Sedimentary Products...


This book includes some of the most recent advances in the study of the morphodynamics and sedimentology of meandering rivers, and is an important resource for those who want to investigate fluvial systems and their deposits.

Abstract:Over the past few millennia, meandering fluvial channels drained coastal landscapes accumulating sedimentary successions that today are permeable pathways. Propagation of pollutants, agricultural exploitation and sand liquefaction are the main processes of environmental interest affecting these sedimentary bodies. The characterization of these bodies is thus of utmost general interest. In this study, we particularly highlight the contribution of noninvasive (remote and ground-based) investigation techniques, and the case study focuses on a late Holocene meander bend of the southern Venetian Plain (Northeast Italy). Electromagnetic induction (EMI) investigations, conducted with great care in terms of sonde stability and positioning, allowed the reconstruction of the electrical conductivity 3D structure of the shallow subsurface, revealing that the paleochannel ranges in depth between 0.8 and 5.4 m, and defines an almost 260 m-wide point bar. The electrical conductivity maps derived from EMI at different depths define an arcuate morphology indicating that bar accretion started from an already sinuous channel. Sedimentary cores ensure local ground-truth and help define the evolution of the channel bend. This paper shows that the combination of well-conceived and carefully performed inverted geophysical surveys, remote sensing and direct investigations provides evidence of the evolution of recent shallow sedimentary structures with unprecedented detail.Keywords: electromagnetic induction; depth inversion; sedimentary processes

Meandering channels extensively dissect fluvial and tidal landscapes, critically controlling their morphodynamic evolution and sedimentary architecture. In spite of an apparently striking dissimilarity of the governing processes, planform dimensions of tidal and fluvial meanders consistently scale to local channel width, and previous studies were unable to identify quantitative planimetric differences between these landforms. Here we use satellite imagery, measurements of meandering patterns, and different statistical analyses applied to about 10,000 tidal and fluvial meanders worldwide to objectively disclose fingerprints of the different physical processes they are shaped by. We find that fluvial and tidal meanders can be distinguished on the exclusive basis of their remotely-sensed planforms. Moreover, we show that tidal meanders are less morphologically complex and display more spatially homogeneous characteristics compared to fluvial meanders. Based on existing theoretical, numerical, and field studies, we suggest that our empirical observations can be explained by the more regular processes carving tidal meanders, as well as by the higher lithological homogeneity of the substrates they typically cut through. Allowing one to effectively infer processes from landforms, a fundamental inverse problem in geomorphology, our results have relevant implications for the conservation and restoration of tidal environments, as well as from planetary exploration perspectives.

Highly sinuous meandering channels are among the most fascinating morphological patterns existing in nature1,2. Their extensive presence typically characterizes both tidal and fluvial landscapes (Fig. 1) and is central in controlling the eco-morphodynamic evolution and sedimentary architecture of the landscapes they cut through3,4,5,6,7. Questions concerning analogies and differences among tidal and fluvial meanders (TM and FM hereafter) have long been debated8,9,10, mainly because of the different chief-landforming processes they are formed by. While the basic flow in FM is invariably directed downstream, a periodic flow reversal in response to varying tidal phases controls TM dynamics3,10. In addition, maxi


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