Bed Load Sediment Transport in an Ephemeral Stream and a Comparison with Seasonal and Perennial Counterparts

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Bed load sediment flux in an ephemeral channel, the Nahal Yatir, is shown to be a comparatively simple function of stream power and to reach levels that are several orders of magnitude higher than maxima measured at similar levels of stream power in perennial counterparts. Channel average submerged unit flux rates are recorded as high as 4.3 kg s−1 m−1, while at the center of the channel, the highest rate recorded is 6.5 kg s−1m−1. Transport efficiency is at least an order of magnitude higher than in other channels for which there are comparable data and, on average, as much as 400 times that of Oak Creek. These differences are explained by the fact that the bed of the Yatir is not armored. It is surmised that the unvegetated nature of this desert watershed provides ample supplies of sediment of all sizes and that this, together with the rapid recession of the flash flood hydrograph and the extended periods of no flow, discourages the development of an armor layer. The flux rates are not sediment supply‐limited, as they are in perennial channels. Nahal Yatir and Oak Creek represent two ends of a spectrum, between which come seasonal and less well armored perennial streams. Transport efficiency is shown to vary considerably for each stream and from one stream to another, suggesting that it may not be possible to incorporate it easily into bed load equations in order to improve levels of prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-781
Number of pages9
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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