Hydraulic interpretation of cross-stream variations in bed-load transport

D. Mark Powell, Ian Reid, Jonathan B. Laronne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The hydraulic control of bed-load transport rates in Nahal Yatir and Nahal Eshtemoa, two coarse-grained ephemeral channels in the semiarid northern Negev, Israel, provides a rare opportunity to infer the spanwise variation in bed-shear stress from an analysis of cross-stream variations in bed-load transport rate. Automatic sediment transport monitoring stations were used to obtain synchronous measurements of bed-load discharge at a number of locations across the widths of two straight channel reaches. In both streams, channel-average bed-load fluxes demonstrated a common and well-defined response to changing channel-average shear stress and approximated the transporting capacity of the flow over much of the range of monitored discharges. However, transport rates measured at the channel margins are only half those at the channel centerline, and, at high discharges, a marked asymmetry in the pattern of bed-load transport develops across the central section of the widest channel. This variation in bed-load discharge over the two channel cross sections is thought to reflect lateral variations in shear stress induced by sidewall drag and, more tentatively, the generation and disposition of cellular secondary currents. But no systematic relation is found for the ratios of sediment fluxes at off-center sampling locations and those recorded at the channel center, even though the off-center locations are thought to move into and out of the region affected by sidewall drag as aspect ratio of the flow decreases and increases with changing water-stage. The results suggest that it is difficult to generalize about the changing influence of the sidewall on local shear and bed load as aspect ratio changes during the course of a flood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1252
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hydraulic Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Hydraulic interpretation of cross-stream variations in bed-load transport'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this