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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Fluid Dynamics and Bed Morphology of Large Natural Open-Channel Confluences: 3D Field Quantification and Numerical Modelling, The

A research project of the Department of Geography.


Channel confluences are ubiquitous features of all fluvial networks and represent sites of complex, three-dimensional flow and sediment dynamics. However, current understanding of these sites is based largely on laboratory experiments and study of small-scale field sites, and no studies have documented the dynamics of large, natural channel junctions. Our ability to model and manage these key sites is thus severely limited. Here, we propose use of acoustic Doppler current profiling and digital echo-sounding to quantify the fluid and sediment dynamics of one of the world's largest confluences between the Parana and Paraguay Rivers, Argentina. This will quantify scale-invariance in junction flow dynamics and provide validation data and output from a numerical model of flow. Study of bedform kinematics will also yield an understanding of the development of bed morphology at these sites.


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