A vector-based method for bank-material tracking in coupled models of meandering and landscape evolution
Sinuous channels commonly migrate laterally and interact with banks of different strengths—an interplay that links geomorphology and life, and shapes diverse landscapes from the seafloor to planetary surfaces. To investigate feedbacks between meandering rivers and landscapes over geomorphic timescales, numerical models typically represent bank properties using structured or unstructured grids. Grid-based models, however, implicitly include unintended thresholds for bank migration that can control simulated landscape evolution. I will present a vector-based approach to land surface- and subsurface-material tracking that overcomes the resolution-dependence inherent in grid-based techniques by allowing high-fidelity representation of bank-material properties for curvilinear banks and low channel lateral migration rates. The vector-based technique is flexible for tracking evolving topography and stratigraphy to different environments, including aggrading floodplains and mixed bedrock-alluvial river valleys. Because of its geometric flexibility, the vector-based material tracking approach provides new opportunities for exploring the co-evolution of meandering rivers and surrounding landscapes over geologic timescales.