River Morphology

  • Edward Kuiper


When planning the development of a river basin, it is obvious that we should have thorough knowledge of the river system. Not only with respect to the water that it carries, but also with respect to sediment content and channel stability. An alluvial river, in the state of nature, maintains a delicate balance between its water discharge, sediment discharge, slope, meander pattern, and channel cross-section. Any disturbance at any point may have repercussions throughout the entire river system. If we build a dam somewhere, sediment will accumulate in the reservoir, the upstream river channel will aggrade, and the downstream channel will degrade. When we take water out of a river for irrigation the channel downstream as well as upstream may silt up. When we cut off river bends to aid navigation or flood control, the river upstream may degrade, while the river downstream may aggrade. In all such cases we should know in advance where and how fast these changes will take place.


Sediment Transport Sediment Load River Channel River Morphology Wash Load 
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  89. United Nations (1953). ‘The sediment problem.’ U.N. Publ., Sales No. 1953. II.F.7., Bangkok, 92 pp. (A summary report of literature on transport and deposition of sediment, with emphasis on sediment problems in Asia and the Far East. Contains the following chapters: 1. Soil erosion, providing data on silt yield of various drainage areas; 2. Transportation of sediment, discussing the mechanics of sediment transport in detail. See on this subject also a publication by Chien, 1955, on sediment transport; 3. Silting and scouring of channels, summarizing the regime theory of irrigation channels; 4. Silting of reservoirs, mostly a summary of a study by Brown, 1944; 5. Action of sediment on the regime of rivers, discussing briefly some aspects of river regime; 6. Sampling and analysis of sediment, mostly a summary of reports by the U.S. Government, 1952.)Google Scholar
  90. U.S. Government (1952). ‘A study of methods used in measurement and analysis of sediment loads in streams.’ St. Paul Dist. Sub-ofHce, Corps of Engrs.; Hydraulics Lab., Univ. of Iowa. (The most comprehensive study on this subject, published in the following nine reports: 1. Field practice and equipment used in sampling suspended sediment, 1940; 2. Equipment used for sampling bed load and bed-material, 1940; 3. Analytical study of methods of sampling suspended sediments, 1941; 4. Methods of analysing sediment samples, 1941; 5. Laboratory investigations of suspended-sediment samplers, 1941; 6. The design of improved types of suspended-sediment samplers, 1952; 7. A study of new methods for size analysis of suspended-sediment samples, 1943; 8. Measurement of the sediment discharge of streams, 1948; 9. Density of sediments deposited in reservoirs, 1943.)Google Scholar
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  92. Vanoni, V. A., and Nomicos, G. N. (1960). ‘Resistance properties of sediment laden streams.’ (See Bibliography to Chapter 3.)Google Scholar
  93. Vetter, C. P. (1949). ‘The Colorado River Delta.’ ‘Reclamation Era, Vol. 35, Nos. 10 and 11, pp. 216–20 and 217–19. (Very interesting brief description of the formation of a large river delta.)Google Scholar
  94. Vetter, C. P. (1953). ‘Twenty years of sediment work on the Colorado River.’ Univ. Iowa, Studies in Engng., Bull. 34, pp. 5–33. (Interesting description of the change in the regime of the Colorado River subsequent to the construction of the Hoover Dam, Parker Dam, Imperial Dam, and others. Quantitative data on stream-channel aggradation and degradation are included.)Google Scholar
  95. Vogel, H. D., and Thompson, P. W. (1933). ‘Flow in river bends.’ Civ. Engng., Vol. 3, pp. 266–68. (Experiments on a Mississippi River model seem to discredit helicoidal theory of flow. It was found that bed load moves from the concave towards the convex bank, but that the bottom current is parallel to the banks. Reference is made to Leighly, 1932, and his theory of ‘turbulence in the direction of decreased velocity.’)Google Scholar
  96. Woodford, A. O. (1951). ‘Stream gradients and Monterey Sea Valley.’ Bull. Geol. Soc. Amer., Vol. 62, pp. 799–852. (Includes an interesting discussion of river profiles and the various factors that influence the shape of the profile.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1965

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward Kuiper
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Hydraulic EngineeringUniversity of ManitobaCanada
  2. 2.World BankManitoba HydroCanada
  3. 3.Department of AgricultureCanada
  4. 4.International Joint CommissionCanada
  5. 5.International Joint CommissionCanada
  6. 6.Manitoba Water Resources InvestigationCanada
  7. 7.Saskatchewan River Reclamation, and Winnipeg Flood Control StudiesCanada
  8. 8.Harlingen Navigation WorksCanada

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