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Sedimentation patterns in the Selenga River delta under changing hydroclimatic conditions
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
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Number of Authors: 72018 (English)In: Hydrological Processes, ISSN 0885-6087, E-ISSN 1099-1085, Vol. 32, no 2, p. 278-292Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Selenga River delta (Russia) is a large (>600km(2)) fluvially dominated fresh water system that transfers water and sediment from an undammed drainage basin into Lake Baikal, a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site. Through sedimentation processes, the delta and its wetlands provide important environmental services, such as storage of sediment-bound pollutants (e.g., metals), thereby reducing their input to Lake Baikal. However, in the Selenga River delta and many other deltas of the world, there is a lack of knowledge regarding impacts of potential shifts in the flow regime (e.g., due to climate change and other anthropogenic impacts) on sedimentation processes, including sediment exchanges between deltaic channels and adjacent wetlands. This study uses field measurements of water velocities and sediment characteristics in the Selenga River delta, investigating conditions of moderate discharge, which have become more frequent over the past decades (at the expense of peak flows, Q>1,350m(3)s(-1)). The aims are to determine if the river system under moderate flow conditions is capable of supporting sediment export from the main distributary channels of the delta to the adjacent wetlands. The results show that most of the deposited sediment outside of the deltaic channels is characterized by a large proportion of silt and clay material (i.e., <63m). For example, floodplain lakes function as sinks of very fine sediment (e.g., 97% of sediment by weight<63m). Additionally, bed material sediment is found to be transported outside of the channel margins during conditions of moderate and high water discharge conditions (Q1,000m(3)s(-1)). Submerged banks and marshlands located in the backwater zone of the delta accumulate sediment during such discharges, supporting wetland development. Thus, these regions likely sequester various metals bound to Selenga River sediment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 32, no 2, p. 278-292
Keywords [en]
deltaic backwater processes, Rouse number assessments, sediment dispersal, Selenga River delta, wetland sedimentation
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-152726DOI: 10.1002/hyp.11414ISI: 000422753200009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-152726DiVA, id: diva2:1185607
Available from: 2018-02-26 Created: 2018-02-26 Last updated: 2018-02-26Bibliographically approved

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