Genesis and sedimentary record of blind channel and islands of the anabranching river: An evolution model

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2018-02-01

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Blind channel (BC) is a fluvial feature formed by attachment of a lateral sand bar to an island or riverbank. It consists of a 10- to 20-m wide and hundreds to thousands meters long channel, parallel to the island or bank, closed at its upstream end by accretion to the island. It is an important feature in anabranching rivers that plays an important role in both the island formation and river ecology. This paper discusses the formation processes, functioning, evolution, and the sedimentary record of a blind channel, related landforms, and its context on island development in the Upper Paraná River. The evolution of this morphologic feature involves (1) formation of a lateral or attachment bar beside an island with the development of a channel in between; (2) vertical accretion of mud deposits during the flood and vegetal development on the bar; (3) the upstream channel closure that generates the blind channel; and (4) annexation of the blind channel to the island. A blind channel is semilotic to lentic, that is not totally integrated to the dynamics of the main active channel and that acts as a nursery for fingerlings and macrophytes. The sedimentary facies succession of BCs are relatively simple and characterized by cross-stratified sand covered by organic muddy sediments. Based on facies analysis of 12 cores, we identified a succession of environments that contribute to the formation of islands: channel bar, blind channel, pond, and swamp. Blind channel formation and its related bar-island attachment are relevant processes associated with the growing of large island evolution in some anabranching rivers.

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Anabranching rivers, Blind channel, Fluvial sedimentology, Lateral bar, Paraná River, River ecology

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Geomorphology, v. 302, p. 35-45.