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Frontiers of Earth Science

Front. Earth Sci.
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Erosion-deposition patterns and depo-center movements in branching channels at the near-estuary reach of the Yangtze River
Boyuan ZHU1,2(), Jinyun DENG3, Jinwu TANG4, Wenjun YU5, Alistair G.L. BORTHWICK6, Yuanfang CHAI7, Zhaohua SUN3, Yitian LI3
1. School of Hydraulic Engineering, Changsha University of Science & Technology, Changsha 410114, China
2. Key Laboratory of Water-Sediment Sciences and Water Disaster Prevention of Hunan Province, Changsha 410114, China
3. State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
4. Changjiang Institute of Survey, Planning, Design and Research, Wuhan 430010, China
5. Changjiang Waterway Institute of Planning, Design & Research, Wuhan 430040, China
6. School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, The King’s Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK
7. Department of Earth Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Channel evolution and depo-center migrations in braided reaches are significantly influenced by variations in runoff. This study examines the effect of runoff variations on the erosion-deposition patterns and depo-center movements within branching channels of the near-estuary reach of the Yangtze River. We assume that variations in annual mean duration days of runoff discharges, ebb partition ratios in branching channels, and the erosional/depositional rates of entire channels and sub-reaches are representative of variations in runoff intensity, flow dynamics in branching channels, and morphological features in the channels. Our results show that the north region of Fujiangsha Waterway, the Liuhaisha branch of Rugaosha Waterway, the west branch of Tongzhousha Waterway, and the west branch of Langshansha Waterway experience deposition or reduced erosion under low runoff intensity, and erosion or reduced deposition under high runoff intensity, with the depo-centers moving upstream and downstream, respectively. Other waterway branches undergo opposite trends in erosion-deposition patterns and depo-center movements as the runoff changes. These morphological changes may be associated with trends in ebb partition ratio as the runoff discharge rises and falls. By flattening the intra-annual distribution of runoff discharge, dam construction in the Yangtze Basin has altered the ebb partition ratios in waterway branches, affecting their erosion-deposition patterns and depo-center movements. Present trends are likely to continue into the future due to the succession of large cascade dams under construction along the upper Yangtze and ongoing climate change.

Keywords near-estuary reach      Yangtze River      runoff discharge      ebb partition ratio      erosion-deposition pattern      depo-center movement     
Corresponding Author(s): Boyuan ZHU   
Online First Date: 03 June 2020   
 Cite this article:   
Boyuan ZHU,Jinyun DENG,Jinwu TANG, et al. Erosion-deposition patterns and depo-center movements in branching channels at the near-estuary reach of the Yangtze River[J]. Front. Earth Sci., 03 June 2020. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1007/s11707-019-0808-2.
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http://journal.hep.com.cn/fesci/EN/10.1007/s11707-019-0808-2
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fesci/EN/Y/V/I/0
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Boyuan ZHU
Jinyun DENG
Jinwu TANG
Wenjun YU
Alistair G.L. BORTHWICK
Yuanfang CHAI
Zhaohua SUN
Yitian LI
Fig.1  The Yangtze Basin and its near-estuary reach. (a) Outline map of the Yangtze Basin indicating the locations of the Xiluodu Dam (XLDD), Xiangjia Dam (XJD), Three Gorges Dam (TGD), Gezhou Dam (GZD), Danjiangkou Dam (DJKD), Datong hydrological station, and the near-estuary reach (the study area). The years of impoundment of the dams were 2013, 2012, 2003, 1981, and 1968, respectively. (b) Bathymetry of the branched near-estuary reach, with positions of engineering projects and tide gauges superimposed.
Type Name Time Source(s)
Hydrodynamics Daily runoff discharge series 1950–2014 Changjiang Water Resources Commission (China)
Hourly ebb tidal discharge series in the branching channels 2004.08.30–2004.09.10, 2005.01.17–2005.02.12 Changjiang Water Resources Commission (China)
Hourly tidal level series at temporary tide gauges in vicinity of the waterways a) 2004.08.30–2004.09.10, 2005.01.17–2005.02.12 Changjiang Water Resources Commission (China)
Yearly wet-season average ebb partition ratios in the branching channels 1977, 1983, 1993, 1998, 2006, 2011 Chen et al., 2016
Morphology Bed-elevation point data of the whole near-estuary reach 2005, 2007, 2011, 2014 Shanghai Estuarine & Coastal Science Research Center (China) and Changjiang Waterway Bureau (China)
Minimum widths of -8 m and -10 m isobaths in the north branch of Fujiangsha Waterway 2005–2012 Yang and Lin, 2013
Cross-sectional profile at the entrance of the south branch of Fujiangsha Waterway 1977, 1983, 1993, 1998, 2006, 2011 Chen et al., 2012
Cross-sectional areas of the two branches of Rugaosha Waterway under bankfull discharge 1977, 1983, 1993, 1998, 2006, 2011 Wu et al., 2013
Channel volumes below -5 m and -10 m isobaths in both branches of Tongzhousha Waterway 1977, 1983, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 Changjiang Waterway Bureau (China)
Tab.1  Data information
Fig.2  Boundaries of branching channels and their upper and lower sub-reaches.
Fig.3  Histogram of annual mean duration days for different runoff discharge levels at Datong Station from 1950 to 2002 before impoundment of the TGD (and also XJD and XLDD, Fig. 1(a)) and from 2003 to 2014 after its impoundment, during which time both XJD and XLDD also commenced operation.
Fig.4  Trends in annual wet-season average ebb partition ratios for branching channels of the following waterways: (a) Fujiangsha; (b) Rugaosha; (c) Tongzhousha; and (d) Langshansha.
Fig.5  Relationships between ebb partition ratio and tidal range for two runoff discharge levels in the branching channels of the waterways:
Fig.6  Evolution of the branching channels of the waterways: (a) annual values of minimum widths of -8 m and -10 m isobaths in the north branch of Fujiangsha Waterway; (b) evolution of the cross-section at the entrance of the south branch of Fujiangsha Waterway; (c) annual time series of the cross-sectional area under bankfull discharge of the middle branch of Rugaosha Waterway; (d) evolution of the cross-sectional area under bankfull discharge of Liuhaisha branch of RugaoshaWaterway; (e) temporal behavior of channel volume below -10 m isobath of the east branch of TongzhoushaWaterway; and (f) temporal behavior of channel volume below -10 m and -5 m isobaths of the west branch of Tongzhousha Waterway.
Waterway Branching channel Period Erosional/Depositional rate/(m?yr1) a) Annual mean duration days of runoff discharge/(days?yr1) b)
<10,000 m3?s1 10000–20000 m3?s1 >50000 m3?s1 >60000 m3?s1
Fujiangsha north region 2005-2007 0.650 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.458 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 -0.186 0 156 14 0
south branch 2005-2007 -0.147 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.314 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 -0.020 0 156 14 0
Rugaosha middle branch 2005-2007 0.348 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.603 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 -0.123 0 156 14 0
Liuhaisha branch 2005-2007 0.902 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.224 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 -0.156 0 156 14 0
Tongzhousha east branch 2005-2007 0.310 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.147 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 0.024 0 156 14 0
west branch 2005-2007 -0.095 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.018 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 -0.678 0 156 14 0
Langshansha east branch 2005-2007 0.005 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 0.711 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 0.201 0 156 14 0
west branch 2005-2007 0.458 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.229 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 0.767 0 156 14 0
Tab.2  Erosional/depositional rates (deposition positive-valued, and erosion negative-valued) of branching channels at the near-estuary reach of the Yangtze River over different periods, and corresponding multi-year average duration days of different runoff discharges at Datong Station
Fig.7  Plan distributions of river bed elevation at the near-estuary reach of the Yangtze River in (a) 2005, (b) 2007, (c) 2011, and (d) 2014.
Waterway Branching channel Period Erosional/Depositional rate of upper sub-reach/(m?yr1) a) Erosional/Depositional rate of lower sub-reach/(m?yr1) a) Annual mean duration days of runoff discharges at Datong Station/(days?yr1) b)
<10000 m3?s1 10000–20000 m3?s1 >50000 m3?s1 >60000 m3?s1
Fujiangsha north
region
2005-2007 1.083 0.212 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.553 -0.359 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 -0.170 -0.211 0 156 14 0
south branch 2005-2007 0.802 -1.331 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.481 -0.087 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 0.089 -0.131 0 156 14 0
Rugaosha middle branch 2005-2007 0.091 0.820 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.383 -1.023 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 -0.543 0.635 0 156 14 0
Liuhaisha branch 2005-2007 0.487 1.437 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.203 -0.308 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 -0.038 -0.265 0 156 14 0
Tongzhousha east
branch
2005-2007 -0.229 0.708 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.113 -0.172 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 -0.668 0.535 0 156 14 0
west
branch
2005-2007 -0.260 0.036 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 0.324 -0.293 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 -1.444 -0.063 0 156 14 0
Langshansha east
branch
2005-2007 -0.579 0.778 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 0.507 0.982 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 0.588 -0.311 0 156 14 0
west
branch
2005-2007 0.938 -0.122 4 170 10 0
2007-2011 -0.433 0.017 0 168 14 7
2011-2014 1.977 -0.681 0 156 14 0
Tab.3  Erosional/depositional rates (deposition positive-valued, and erosion negative-valued) for upper and lower sub-reaches of the branching channels at the near-estuary reach of the Yangtze River over different periods and corresponding multi-year average duration days of different runoff discharges at Datong Station
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