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What remains today of pre‐industrial Alpine rivers? Census of historical and current channel patterns in the Alps

Hohensinner, Severin; Egger, Gregory; Muhar, Susanne; Vaudor, Lise; Piégay, Hervé

Abstract:
To date, no survey on the diverse channel patterns existing prior to the major phase of river regulation in the mid‐19th–early 20th century has been elaborated at the scale of the whole European Alps. The present paper fills this knowledge gap. The historical channel forms of the 143 largest Alpine rivers with catchments larger than 500 km$^{2}$ (total length 11,870 km) were reconstructed based on maps dating from the 1750s to 1900. In the early 19th century, one‐third of the large Alpine rivers were multi‐channel rivers. Single‐bed channels oscillating between close valley sides were also frequent in the Alps (28%). Sinuous and even more so meandering channels were much rarer. Historical river patterns generally followed an upstream–downstream gradient according to slope condition, floodplain width and distance from the sources. The local occurrence of certain channel patterns, however, primarily reflected the tectonic/orographic conditions. Multi‐channel reaches were widespread within the whole Alpine area, alternating with confined and oscillating reaches. This demonstrates that most areas were mainly transport‐limited rather than supply limited. ... mehr

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Verlagsausgabe §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/1000129740
Veröffentlicht am 16.02.2021
Cover der Publikation
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Geographie und Geoökologie (IFGG)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Publikationsmonat/-jahr 02.2021
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 1535-1459, 1535-1467
KITopen-ID: 1000129740
Erschienen in River research and applications
Verlag Wiley
Band 37
Heft 2
Seiten 128–149
Vorab online veröffentlicht am 30.11.2020
Schlagwörter Alpine rivers; channel patterns; historical GIS; historical state; river training
Nachgewiesen in Scopus
Web of Science
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