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Title: Quantitative characterisation of channel sinuosity, determination of catchment and sedimentary basin controls on channel sinuosity and interpretation of channel planform in fluvial systems with GIS and remote sensing techniques
Author: Afolabi, Olamide
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 8127
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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This work have quantitatively determine the catchment variables controlling the sinuosity transition of non-valley constrained DFS channels in Alaska, Himalaya and the Andes. Results from the characterisation of channel sinuosity were used through regression analyses to determine the catchment and channel bed parameters controlling reach sinuosity trend and transition of fluvial channel planforms in order to infer a control on the heterogeneity of DFS in the rock record. The catchment approach used was necessary because the studied fluvial systems are associated with DFS (which are regarded as larger forms of alluvial fans) and catchment based approach have been used to investigate controls on alluvial fan morphology. In addition, catchment based investigations are rare in the analyses of the discriminant functions that are considered as controlling factors on channel sinuosity and planform employed previously in the tributary systems. Two distinct channel types were found through the characterisation of 553 reaches of fluvial channels in 3 different modern continental sedimentary basins; channels with no transition in sinuosity/planform (group 1), and channels with transition in sinuosity/planform (group 2) Among the channel bed and catchment quantitative variables investigated in this work, catchment area is the only parameter that shows a general relationship with the channel distance from the apex to the transition point in channel sinuosity through the overall regression results. The result shows that the bigger the catchment area the longer the transition point which is related to a higher water and sediment discharge. Thus, the point at which the channel sinuosity transition will occur can be predicted from the catchment area through the regression equation [y=0.0017x + 28] of the overall linear regression line, where x is the catchment area and y is the channel distance from the apex to the point of transition in channel sinuosity. As the studied channels are associated with DFS, this relation also reflects the prediction of the transition point in the DFS fluvial styles in the rock record. Overall regression analysis results show statistically poor results for the relationship between catchment elevation, catchment slope, channel bed elevation, channel bed slope and either the channel sinuosity or the sinuosity transition. However, in all the three study areas, the majority of the datasets show a trend with the catchment area/sinuosity transition relationship. Additionally, the study area with mainly the biggest catchments (longer channel sinuosity transition) is associated with the highest catchment slope, lowest channel bed elevation and more anabranching channels. Also, the study area with mainly the smallest catchments (shorter channel sinuosity transition) is associated with lower catchment slope, higher channel bed elevation and fewer anabranching channels. This suggests that the higher water and sediment discharge may be related to the steeper slopes and the anabranching channels may reflect the lower channel bed elevation. However, deviations obeserved in the overall regression result in the three study areas are attributed to the differences in the climatic, geologic and tectonic factors in the 3 settings. Although, the differences in these study areas have been shown, nevertheless the interpretations cannot be substantiated in this work with the available data. Thus, there is need for further research to prove any conclusive relationship between these factors and hence remains an issue of debate. In conclusion, this work shows that catchment area is an important controlling parameter on the transition in channel sinuosity of non-valley constrained DFS channels and consequently reflects a a control on the transition in spatial variations of the associated DFS in the rock record.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: UK Government
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fluvial geomorphology ; Geographic information systems