Hyporheic Exchange Due to Cobbles on Sandy Beds

Anzy Lee, Antoine F. Aubeneau, M. Bayani Cardenas, Xiaofeng Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Hyporheic exchange induced by riverbed topography and roughness provides important ecosystem functions. We investigated how cobble clusters embedded in a finer-grained sand bed affect the near-bed channel flow and the exchange of surface and subsurface water. We tested how the spacing and embeddedness of cobbles altered hyporheic exchange through a three-dimensional fully coupled surface-subsurface model. The 3D modeling framework captured the full physics of the exchange process locating the lateral position of upwelling zones on the side of the cobble. As the cobbles protrude more into the channel, eddies appear downstream, with smaller vortices where cobbles are closer together. In our simulations, hyporheic exchange increased with the spacing and protrusion ratio. The travel time in the hyporheic zone also increased with the protrusion ratio because the hyporheic flow paths are longer when the cobble is more protruded. With different spacings at the highest protrusion ratio, the average slope of early time breakthrough curve was steeper for large spacing settings: the travel time increases as the spacing decreases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021WR030164
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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