Riverbank Instability Due to Bed Degradation

by Colin R. Thorne, Univ of London, United Kingdom,
David S. Biedenharn, Univ of London, United Kingdom,
Phil G. Combs, Univ of London, United Kingdom,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


Degradation lowers the bed of an alluvial channel over a long reach. This has the effect of increasing the bank heights and angles, which decreases the stability of the banks with respect to mass failure under gravity. As degradation proceeds, the bank height attains a limiting or critical value and the bank fails, usually by a slab-type mechanism. This tends to limit further degradation, with the thrust of channel instability switching from depth to width enlargement. In this paper a new analysis of bank stability is outlined and tested against field data from Long Creek, Mississippi. The analysis is shown to predict accurately the stability and failure geometry of the banks. The applications of the analysis in engineering/geomorphic studies of degradational streams are considered.

Subject Headings: Failure analysis | Chemical degradation | River bank stabilization | Sediment transport | Soil water | Soil stabilization | Field tests | River and stream beds | Mississippi | United States

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