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Palaeohydraulic Interpretation Using Mathematical Models of Contemporary Flow and Sedimentation in Meandering Channels
A mathematical model to calculate steady, nonuniform flow, bed topography, bed sediment size and internal structure in open channel bends is briefly described and evaluated. The model is used to predict the three-dimensional facies distributions of single point bar deposits arising from lateral deposition at bankfull stage. The results show the expected diversity of lateral deposits (as found in ancient sequences) formed under different physiographic conditions, and also the variability in thickness, grainsize and internal structure of lateral deposits from a single point bar. It follows that single vertical sections through ‘fining-upward‘ coarse members cannot necessarily be considered representative of a whole point bar deposit, or of deposition in a channel reach containing several point bars. Guidelines are given for obtaining quantitative estimates of the geometry and hydraulics of ancient curved channels using the model, and other published techniques of palaeohydraulic reconstruction are critically appraised in the light of the method presented here.
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