Hydraulic and fluvial geomorphological models for a bedrock channel reach of the Twenty Mile Creek /
Smith, Ian D.
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Bedrock channels have been considered challenging geomorphic settings for the application of numerical models. Bedrock fluvial systems exhibit boundaries that are typically less mobile than alluvial systems, yet they are still dynamic systems with a high degree of spatial and temporal variability. To understand the variability of fluvial systems, numerical models have been developed to quantify flow magnitudes and patterns as the driving force for geomorphic change. Two types of numerical model were assessed for their efficacy in examining the bedrock channel system consisting of a high gradient portion of the Twenty Mile Creek in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada. A one-dimensional (1-D) flow model that utilizes energy equations, HEC RAS, was used to determine velocity distributions through the study reach for the mean annual flood (MAF), the 100-year return flood and the 1,000-year return flood. A two-dimensional (2-D) flow model that makes use of Navier-Stokes equations, RMA2, was created with the same objectives. The 2-D modeling effort was not successful due to the spatial complexity of the system (high slope and high variance). The successful 1 -D model runs were further extended using very high resolution geospatial interpolations inherent to the HEC RAS extension, HEC geoRAS. The modeled velocity data then formed the basis for the creation of a geomorphological analysis that focused upon large particles (boulders) and the forces needed to mobilize them. Several existing boulders were examined by collecting detailed measurements to derive three-dimensional physical models for the application of fluid and solid mechanics to predict movement in the study reach. An imaginary unit cuboid (1 metre by 1 metre by 1 metre) boulder was also envisioned to determine the general propensity for the movement of such a boulder through the bedrock system. The efforts and findings of this study provide a standardized means for the assessment of large particle movement in a bedrock fluvial system. Further efforts may expand upon this standardization by modeling differing boulder configurations (platy boulders, etc.) at a high level of resolution.