Observation Method to Predict Meander Migration and Vertical Degradation of Rivers
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Meander migration and vertical degradation of river bed are processes that have been studied for years. These two erosion controlled processes consist of the gradual change of the geometry of the river due to the flow of water eroding the soil. This erosion may cause a shift that could be a threat to existing bridges, highways, and useful lands. Different methods have been proposed to make predictions of the behavior of rivers with respect to these processes. Many of these methods are used to predict the migration rate and the final position of the bankline or centerline of a river, assuming that the erosion rate is constant for a certain time. However, most of these methods ignore one of the three general processes of meander migration and vertical degradation: geometry, flow, and soil. Therefore, there is need for a method that can accurately predict the amount of erosion that may occur in rivers. Six different sites in Texas were selected for this project. Four of the selected rivers have meander migration problems, and two rivers have vertical degradation problems. Each river has shown erosion problems that have been a threat to the bridges, roads or farm lands. A new method, called the Observation Method, was developed to predict meander migration and vertical degradation by using geometry, water flow, and soil erodibility. Aerial photos and maps from different years were obtained to study the change of the geometry of the rivers. River hydrographs were obtained from the U.S. Geological Survey to estimate the river velocity from daily flow. Soil samples from each site were obtained for laboratory testing, using the Erosion Function Apparatus. A code was written in MATLAB and Excel to estimate the critical velocity by using a model based on the erosion function obtained from the erosion tests. It is important to know where the river was and its history to be able to predict where the river will be. The erosion of each river from the six sites was estimated using the model and predictions were made for 10 years after the last observation for each case. This method proved to be a simple and quick way to obtain results for the movement of one point of the river.
Montalvo Bartolomei, Axel M (2014). Observation Method to Predict Meander Migration and Vertical Degradation of Rivers. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from