Annualmeeting:2017 CSDMS meeting-079

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Channel geomorphology along the fluvial-tidal transition, Santee River, USA

Raymond Torres, University of South Carolina Columbia South Carolina, United States. torres@geol.sc.edu



[[Image:|300px|right|link=File:]]There exists a rich understanding of channel forms and processes for rivers with unidirectional flows, and for their estuarine components with bidirectional flows. On the other hand, complementary insight on the transitional reach linking these flows has not been well developed. This study highlights the analyses of high resolution, high accuracy bathymetric surveys along a coastal plain river at 30 - 94 km upstream of the estuary mouth. The goal of this work is to identify geomorphic indicators of the fluvial-tidal transition channel. Trends with sharp breaks were detected in along-channel variations of depth, hydraulic radius, channel shape, bed elevation and sinuosity, but cross-section area of flow provided the greatest insight. The transition channel is characterized as a reach with greater than 50% decline in area of flow relative to the background values at the upstream and downstream ends. Further downstream the river is a mixed bedrock-alluvium system, and a 22 km reach of discontinuous bedrock outcrops has a marked influence on local channel metrics, and corresponding backwater effects on upstream metrics. Despite the confounding effects of bedrock on channel form the transition channel linking estuarine and fluvial channel segments is apparent as a 13 km geomorphic discontinuity in flow area along a channel reach of relatively uniform width. Finally, it is proposed that bedrock outcrops enhance tidal energy dissipation and influence the position of the fluvial-tidal transition reach, and associated geomorphic and hydrodynamic features.