River Dune Dynamics During Low Flows

L.R. Lokin*, J.J. Warmink, A. Bomers, S.J.M.H. Hulscher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


River dunes are wavelike features in sandy riverbeds that move slowly in a downstream direction. These bedforms are shaped by the interaction between flowing water and sand grains at the riverbed. Understanding river dune dynamics is essential to determine sediment transport and optimize river maintenance. Earlier research mainly focused on river dune dynamics during high flows; therefore, low-flow dune dynamics are hardly understood. In this study, we analyzed dune dynamics in a unique data set of 10 years of biweekly bed elevation profiles of the Rhine River, focusing on low-flow conditions. Here, we show that dunes migrate and become lower and longer during low flows, while current literature states that dunes should become shorter. This dune migration and lengthening at low flows is a new finding and is linked to diffusive dune migration processes that become more relevant when sediment transport is just above incipient motion.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021GL097127
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical research letters
Issue number8
Early online date14 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2022


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