An update of the sediment fluxes investigation in the Rio Cordon (Italy) after 25 years of monitoring
AbstractQuantification of bed-load transport in high-gradient mountain streams is important, but the field data needed to test transport models are scarce and difficult to obtain. In the present study, we describe the experimental station for monitoring water and sediment fluxes built in 1985 on the Rio Cordon, a small step-pool channel in the eastern Italian Alps. The measuring station consists of an inclined frame that separates fine from coarse sediments (D>20 mm), which are continuously measured by a series of ultrasonic sensors fitted above a storage area. The acquired 25-year dataset, which comprises a high-magnitude/ low-recurrence flood event, has allowed a magnitude-frequency analysis of bed-load volumes to be performed. Results from a combined frequency analysis of peak water discharge and total bed-load volumes are presented. In addition, the integration between the sediment transport dataset and the repeated surveys of sediment sources and of channel changes allowed us to assess the geomorphological effectiveness of different flood events. Despite the importance of the experimental station for making these bed-load observations possible, its maintenance costs are not low and these may have an impact on its future existence. At the same time, improving current instrumentation and future installations with novel technology would make the station an ideal location for calibrating surrogate techniques for sediment transport monitoring.
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