Fine particle deposition and streambed clogging affect many ecological and biogeochemical processes, but little is known about the effects of groundwater flow into and out of rivers on clogging. We evaluated the effects of losing and gaining flow on the deposition of suspended kaolinite clay particles in a sand streambed and the resulting changes in rates and patterns of hyporheic exchange flux (HEF). Observations of clay deposition from the water column, clay accumulation in the streambed sediments, and water exchange with the bed demonstrated that clay deposition in the bed substantially reduced both HEF and the size of the hyporheic zone. Clay deposition and HEF were strongly coupled, leading to rapid clogging in areas of water and clay influx into the bed. Local clogging diverted exchanged water laterally, producing clay deposit layers that reduced vertical hyporheic flow and favored horizontal flow. Under gaining conditions, HEF was spatially constrained by upwelling water, which focused clay deposition in a small region on the upstream side of each bed form. Because the area of inflow into the bed was smallest under gaining conditions, local clogging required less clay mass under gaining conditions than neutral or losing conditions. These results indicate that losing and gaining flow conditions need to be considered in assessments of hyporheic exchange, fine particle dynamics in streams, and streambed clogging and restoration.
- clay transport
- hyporheic exchange
- sediment transport
- stream-groundwater interactions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)