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Connectivity of the Sediment Cascade: source to sink modelling of sediment dynamics in New Zealand
Landscape evolution is governed by the interplay of uplift, climate, erosion and the discontinuous pattern of sediment transfer from the proximal source of erosion to distal sedimentary sinks. The transfer of sediment through the catchment system is often referred to as a cascade, the pattern of which is modulated by the interaction of key network characteristics such as the distribution of transport capacity and resultant zones of sediment storage. Moreover, given the long timescales involved in the episodic transfer of sediment, these patterns of storage are often out of phase with the driving rates of uplift and erosion.
This research project aims to investigate the role that drainage network typology plays in modulating the pattern of sediment transfer from source to sink. It is hypothesized that variations in the connectivity of different networks play a key role in determining the location of ‘geomorphic hotspots’ characterized by high rates of sediment storage and subsequent evacuation. The research aims to develop a regional scale numerical model of sediment production, storage and transfer, focusing on the dynamic environment of the South Island of New Zealand. It is hoped that this numerical framework can be used to address critical questions relating to the timescales associated with pulses of co-seismic sediment production following major tectonic events.
- Professor James Brasington, University of Waikato, New Zealand
- QMUL Principal’s studentship