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Hauer, C; Skrame, K; Fuhrmann, M.
(2021): Hydromorphologial assessment of the Vjosa river at the catchment scale linking glacial history and fluvial processes
CATENA. 2021; 207, 105598 FullText FullText_BOKU

Balkan rivers are described as hotspots of biodiversity due to the limited glaciation to a few high-altitude cirques during the last ice age. Although many studies have examined local-scale highlights in biota and biodiversity, an overall hydro-morphological characterization and development assessment of these rivers during the Holocene are missing. Aim of the presented study is to put together the present and recent river dynamics and Quaternary landscape development for a comprehensive understanding of geomorphic processes and the current river morphological characteristics of the Vjosa river. This was done by linking satellite imagery and hydro-dynamic modelling to read the landscape, i.e., to determine the development of landscape units, and (i) the active channel, (ii) the active floodplain and (iii) the morphological floodplain. The digital terrain of the Vjosa River catchment, as an example of the Balkan rivers, was based on a 25 m x 25 m digital elevation model, and hydrodynamic numerical analysis was conducted with a one-dimensional step-backwater model. The application of this assessment approach enabled a clear differentiation of four different sections along the longitudinal profile of the Vjosa-mainly differentiated by the slope and partially corresponding with the confluence of tributaries. We also found that periods of glaciation imposed a strong impact on the hydro-morphological characteristics of the Vjosa River. In particular, the delineation of the active channel and the active floodplain exhibited two different morphological reaches. The first reach exhibits a clear incision of the river into fluvial deposits when the historical sediment supply was high, and the second reach occurs downstream where the current sediment supply is equal or higher than that during the Pleistocene or earlier periods. These differences in hydro-morphological development exert a strong impact on the floodplain development and the human use of these reaches. Thus, despite the given uncertainties due to the lack of bathymetric accuracy, the hybrid assessment approach is useful for the hydro-morphological characterization of the Vjosa river and the identification of landscape forming processes on the catchment scale.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Fuhrmann Martin
Hauer Christoph

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Channel pattern classification
Landscape development
Hydrodynamic-numerical modelling
Remote sensing

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