Flow-partitioning and avulsion in a river delta bifurcation. Bifurcation is a morphodynamic model of a river delta bifurcation. Model outputs include flux partitioning and 1D bed elevation profiles, all of which can evolve through time. Interaction between the two branches occurs in the reach just upstream of the bifurcation, due to the development of a transverse bed slope. Aside from this interaction, the individual branches are modeled in 1D. The model generates ongoing avulsion dynamics automatically, arising from the interaction between an upstream positive feedback and the negative feedback from branch progradation and/or aggradation. Depending on the choice of parameters, the model generates symmetry, soft avulsion, or full avulsion. Additionally, the model can include differential subsidence. It can also be run under bypass conditions, simulating the effect of an offshore sink, in which case ongoing avulsion dynamics do not occur. Possible uses of the model include the study of avulsion, bifurcation stability, and the morphodynamic response of bifurcations to external changes.



Initial contribute: 2021-09-08


St. Anthony Falls Laboratory
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Application-focused categoriesNatural-perspectiveLand regions

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Bifurcations are the gatekeepers of delta distributary networks, controlling how fluxes such as water, nutrients, and sediment are distributed between the branches of the network. Understanding the controls on delta bifurcations is critical for predicting how the flux distribution of the network will change through time, whichinturncontrolshowthedeltagrowsandrespondstochange.Deltasarenaturallylow-lyingand,hence, are inherently vulnerable to relative sea level rise. However, deltas do not respond passively to sea level rise; the sediment flux distribution across the delta controls which portions of a delta will keep up with sea level riseandwhichportionsriskinundation.Thisisofgreatimportancefortheestimated500millionpeoplewho live on deltas worldwide (Overeem & Syvitski, 2009).

Quoted from : Control of Delta Avulsion by Downstream Sediment Sinks



Gerard Salter (2021). Bifurcation, Model Item, OpenGMS,


Initial contribute : 2021-09-08



St. Anthony Falls Laboratory
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