Frontiers of Earth Science

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 565–578 | Cite as

Sediment transport in headwaters of a volcanic catchment—Kamchatka Peninsula case study

  • Sergey R. Chalov
  • Anatolii S. Tsyplenkov
  • Jan Pietron
  • Aleksandra S. Chalova
  • Danila I. Shkolnyi
  • Jerker Jarsjö
  • Michael Maerker
Research Article


Due to specific environmental conditions, headwater catchments located on volcanic slopes and valleys are characterized by distinctive hydrology and sediment transport patterns. However, lack of sufficient monitoring causes that the governing processes and patterns in these areas are rarely well understood. In this study, spatiotemporal water discharge and sediment transport from upstream sources was investigated in one of the numerous headwater catchments located in the lahar valleys of the Kamchatka Peninsula Sukhaya Elizovskaya River near Avachinskii and Koryakskii volcanoes. Three different subcatchments and corresponding channel types (wandering rivers within lahar valleys, mountain rivers within volcanic slopes and rivers within submountain terrains) were identified in the studied area. Our measurements from different periods of observations between years 2012–2014 showed that the studied catchment was characterized by extreme diurnal fluctuation of water discharges and sediment loads that were influenced by snowmelt patterns and high infiltration rates of the easily erodible lahar deposits. The highest recorded sediment loads were up to 9∙104 mg/L which was related to an increase of two orders of magnitude within a one day of observations. Additionally, to get a quantitative estimate of the spatial distribution of the eroded material in the volcanic substrates we applied an empirical soil erosion and sediment yield model–modified universal soil loss equation (MUSLE). The modeling results showed that even if the applications of the universal erosion model to different non-agricultural areas (e.g., volcanic catchments) can lead to irrelevant results, the MUSLE model delivered might be acceptable for non-lahar areas of the studied volcanic catchment. Overall the results of our study increase our understanding of the hydrology and associated sediment transport for prediction of risk management within headwater volcanic catchments.


sediment transport volcanoes lahars Kamchatka Peninsula MUSLE erosion 


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This research was conducted within the project of Russian Scientific Foundation No 14-27-00083. The field research was additionally funded by the following projects: Russian Fund for Basic research project No 15-05-05515, 16-55-53116 and 16-35-00567; PEOPLE MARIE CURIE ACTIONS International Research Staff Exchange Scheme Call: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IRSES Fluvial processes and sediment dynamics of slope channel systems: Impacts of socio economic-and climate change on river system characteristics and related services. The Swedish partners were funded from the Swedish Research Council Formas (project 2012-790). We thank all participants of the field work in 2012–2014 and especially are grateful to Simone Mori who designed Fig. 2.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergey R. Chalov
    • 1
  • Anatolii S. Tsyplenkov
    • 1
  • Jan Pietron
    • 2
  • Aleksandra S. Chalova
    • 1
  • Danila I. Shkolnyi
    • 1
  • Jerker Jarsjö
    • 2
  • Michael Maerker
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of GeographyM. V. Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Department of Physical Geography and the Bolin Centre for Climate ResearchStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesPavia UniversityPaviaItaly

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