Although most natural streams have concave-upward longitudinal profiles, there are conflicting perspectives about whether an alluvial channel is less concave than a bedrock channel. Alluvial channels can be classified as coarse-bed and fine-bed channels, depending on the bed grain size. Both are transport limited, but the threshold of motion differs greatly. Whereas a coarse-bed alluvial channel can be claimed to be as concave as a bedrock channel, we claim that a fine-bed channel is distinguishably less concave. We derive the concavity index of a fine-bed alluvial channel using the power-law relationships emergent at a steady-state river network. For known ranges of the scaling parameters, our formulation informs a range of concavity index as 0.07 ± 0.09 for a fine-bed alluvial channel. Our analyses of previous laboratory experiments and real fine-bed alluvial channels in the midwestern U.S. and northern Europe also support our conclusions, i.e., small profile concavity of steady-state fine-bed alluvial channels.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Gary Parker and anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the manuscript. This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (grant 2015R1A2A2A05001592).
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