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Downstream and upstream influence in river meandering. Part 2. Planimetric development

  • G. SEMINARA (a1), G. ZOLEZZI (a1) (a2), M. TUBINO (a3) and D. ZARDI (a3)


The exact solution of the problem of river morphodynamics derived in Part 1 is employed to formulate and solve the problem of planimetric evolution of river meanders. A nonlinear integrodifferential evolution equation in intrinsic coordinates is derived. An exact periodic solution of such an equation is then obtained in terms of a modified Fourier series expansion such that the wavenumbers of the various Fourier modes are time dependent. The amplitudes of the Fourier modes and their wavenumbers satisfy a nonlinear system of coupled ordinary differential equations of the Landau type. Solutions of this system display the occurrence of two possible scenarios. In the sub-resonant regime, i.e. when the aspect ratio of the channel is smaller than the resonant value, meandering evolves according to the classical picture: a periodic train of small-amplitude sine-generated meanders migrating downstream evolve into the classical, upstream skewed, train of meanders of Kinoshita type. Evolution displays all the experimentally observed features: the meander growth rate increases up to a maximum and then decreases, while the migration speed decreases monotonically. No equilibrium solutions are found. In the super-resonant regime the picture is essentially reversed: downstream skewing develops while meanders migrate upstream.

Numerical solutions of the planimetric evolution equation are obtained for the case when the initial channel pattern exhibits random small perturbations of the straight configuration. Under these conditions, the evolution displays the typical features of solutions of the Ginzburg–Landau equation, in particular, the occurrence of spatial modulations of the meandering pattern which organizes itself in the form of wavegroups. Furthermore, multiple loops develop in the advanced stage of meander growth.


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