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    Author(s): John M. Buffington; William E. Dietrich; James W. Kirchner
    Date: 1992
    Source: Water Resources Research. 28(2): 411-425.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.0 MB)


    We report the first measurements of friction angles for a naturally formed gravel streambed. For a given test grain size placed on a bed surface, friction angles varied from 10º to over 100º; friction angle distributions can be expressed as a function of test grain size, median bed grain size, and bed sorting parameter. Friction angles decrease with increasing grain size relative to the median bed grain size, and are a systematic function of sorting, with lower friction angles associated with poorer sorting. The probability distributions of critical shear stress for different grain sizes on a given bed surface, as calculated from our friction angle data, show a common origin, but otherwise diverge with larger grains having narrower and lower ranges of critical shear stresses. The potential mobility of a grain, as defined by its probability distribution of critical shear stress, may be overestimated for larger grains in this analysis, because our calculations do not take into account the effects of grain burial and altered near-bed flow fields.

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    Buffington, John M.; Dietrich, William E.; Kirchner, James W. 1992. Friction angle measurements on a naturally formed gravel streambed: Implications for critical boundary shear stress. Water Resources Research. 28(2): 411-425.


    streams, gravel beds, friction angles, critical shear stress, sediment

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