Clogging of streambeds due to clay deposition influences the stream-subsurface exchange flux and thus directly modulates hyporheic ecological and biogeochemical processes. Clogging of sandy streambeds has previously been studied under losing and gaining flows and during streambed movement, but not when these two flow conditions coincided. We conducted flume experiments to quantify the combined effect of moving bedforms and losing or gaining flows on kaolinite deposition and streambed clogging. The experiments were conducted by adding pulses of kaolinite in a flume packed with sand under a stream water velocity of 25 cm/s. We measured the deposition rates, dynamics of hyporheic exchange flux (HEF) and vertical hydraulic conductivity (Kv), and the vertical distribution of kaolinite at the end of the experiments under two losing and two gaining flows (Darcy velocity of 10 and 20 cm/day). Kaolinite deposition led to clogging and reduction in Kv and HEF under all flow conditions. Deposition occurred faster under losing flow conditions than under gaining flow conditions. However, the changes in Kv and HEF were similar under losing and gaining flow conditions for similar kaolinite concentrations in the bed. Our results indicate that the deposition patterns of kaolinite were more influenced by bedform movement than by losing or gaining flow conditions, which is markedly different from the behavior observed under losing and gaining conditions for stationary bedforms. This implies that bedform morphodynamics control local-scale clogging of sandy streambeds and should be accounted for when studying the hydrology of catchments at larger scales.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology