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Numerical Simulation of the Propagation of Fine-Grained Sediment Pulses in Alluvial Rivers
Castro Bolinaga, Celso Francisco
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Sediment pulses are defined as large amounts of loose sediment that are suddenly deposited in river corridors due to the action of external factors or processes of natural or anthropogenic origin. Such factors and processes include landslides, debris flows from tributaries, volcanic eruptions, dam removal projects, and mining-related activities. Their occurrence is associated with a surplus in sediment load to downstream reaches, and therefore, with severe channel aggradation and degradation, significant floodplain deposition, increase in flood frequency, damage of infrastructure, and impairment of aquatic habitats. The main objective of this research is to develop a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that govern the propagation of these sediment-flow hazards in alluvial sand-bed rivers. Specifically, the study presented herein is divided into three separate parts to achieve this overarching goal. First, a component intended to improve the numerical modeling of morphodynamic processes in alluvial sand-bed rivers by proposing a novel solution methodology that applies either the decoupled or the coupled modeling approach based on local flow and sediment transport conditions. Secondly, a detailed numerical analysis to characterize the behavior of fine-grained sediment pulses (i.e. composed of granular material in the sand size range) in alluvial sand-bed rives by identifying the properties of these types of pulses, as well as the characteristics of riverine environments, that are most relevant to their downstream migration. And lastly, a case study application to assess the effect of the magnitude, duration, and frequency of severe hydrologic events on the overall propagation behavior of fine-grained sediment pulses in alluvial sand-bed rivers. Ultimately, this research aims to contribute towards reducing the uncertainty associated with the impact of these phenomena, and hence, improving the resilience of rivers corridors.
- Doctoral Dissertations