Catchment- and reach-scale controls on the distribution and expectation of geomorphic channel adjustment

Peyton Lisenby*, Kirstie A. Fryirs

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Variability in channel function (behavior) can be assessed by characterizing different forms of adjustment over time. Here, historical channel adjustments in three tributary systems of the Lockyer Valley, Southeast Queensland (SEQ) are analyzed in order to evaluate the range of catchment- and reach-scale controls on channel behavior. Over 300 individual adjustments and 13 forms of adjustment were identified over a ∼130 year time span. We measured the width-to-depth ratio (W:D), mean stream power (ω), and basin area (A) at the location of all observed adjustments. The most common forms of adjustment were avulsions, lateral expansion of the channel, and bend adjustments. The tributary systems behave distinctly different from one another according to statistical comparisons between the W:D, ω, and A data for these forms of adjustment. We find that it is possible to develop process domains or typologies for forms of geomorphic adjustment found in the Lockyer Valley. These domains or typologies provide the foundations for synoptic comparisons between catchments and assessing the expectation of channel adjustment (forecasting), which should be included in process-based river management practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3408-3427
    Number of pages20
    JournalWater Resources Research
    Issue number5
    Early online date4 May 2016
    Publication statusPublished - May 2016


    • Avulsion
    • Capacity for adjustment
    • Channel behavior
    • Lockyer Valley
    • Process domain


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