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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Shocks in the Evolution of an Eroding Channel

  • Author(s): Welsh, Edward
  • Birnir, Bjorn
  • Bertozzi, Andrea L.
  • et al.

Analysis of an evolution model for a river channel shows how three types of shocks determine the profile of the channel. This model shows that in a young river channel, evolution is driven by white noise magnifying into a bore followed by a hydraulic jump. This mechanism produces a convex profile typical of young landscapes. A small knick-point then develops at the bottom of the unstable convex profile. This knick-point is magnified and colored into a diffusive shock which travels upslope, digging into the convex profile until the profile becomes concave, typical of mature landscapes.

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