Prediction of bed-load transport by desert flash floods

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


A number of predictive bed-load sediment transport equations are rated against a unique set of field data collected by automatic slot samplers during flash floods in a desert wadi. The Meyer-Peter and Müller equation is shown to perform well, providing a median ratio of calculated to observed (C/O) bed-load flux of 1.18. The Bagnold equation is shown to underpredict considerably, with a median C/O of 0.44. The Parker equation performs better, though it still underpredicts with a median C/O of 0.78. The apparent success of the Meyer-Peter and Müller formula is attributed to the ready supply of sediment to the channel system in desert and semidesert environments. This ensures that the channel bed remains unarmored, in contrast to supply-limited, armored, perennial rivers of humid zones. It also ensures that bed-load flux responds to changing hydraulic conditions in a comparatively simple fashion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-173
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Hydraulic Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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