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Title: Hyporheic exchange in gravel bed rivers with pool-riffle morphology: Laboratory experiments and three-dimensional modeling

Author: Tonina, Daniele; Buffington, John M.;

Date: 2007

Source: Water Resources Research, 43: W01421.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: We report the first laboratory simulations of hyporheic exchange in gravel pool-riffle channels, which are characterized by coarse sediment, steep slopes, and three-dimensional bed forms that strongly influence surface flow. These channels are particularly important habitat for salmonids, many of which are currently at risk worldwide and which incubate their offspring within the hyporheic zone. Here we perform a set of laboratory experiments examining the effects of discharge and bed form amplitude on hyporheic exchange, with surface-subsurface mixing measured directly from the concentration decay of a conservative tracer (fluorescein) injected into the surface flow. Near-bed pressure measurements were also used to predict hyporheic exchange from a three-dimensional pumping transport model. Comparison of the predicted and observed hyporheic exchange shows good agreement, indicating that the major mechanism for exchange is bed formĀ­induced advection. However, the effect of bed forms is modulated by discharge and the degree of topographic submergence. We also tested the performance of the hydrostatic pressure as a proxy for the observed near-bed pressure in driving hyporheic exchange, which would facilitate field measurement and analysis of hyporheic flow in natural rivers. We found agreement with measured hyporheic exchange only for low bed form amplitudes and high flows.

Keywords: gravel bed rivers, hyporheic exchange, channels, salmonids

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Tonina, Daniele; Buffington, John M. 2007. Hyporheic exchange in gravel bed rivers with pool-riffle morphology: Laboratory experiments and three-dimensional modeling. Water Resources Research, 43: W01421.


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