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The role of sediment supply in the adjustment of channel sinuosity across the Amazon Basin

Ahmed, Joshua; Constantine, José Antonio; Dunne, Thomas


José Antonio Constantine

Thomas Dunne


© 2019 Geological Society of America. Sediment supplies are a fundamental component of alluvial river systems, but the importance of sustained supplies of externally derived sediments for the evolution of meandering planforms remains unclear. Here we demonstrate the importance of sediment supply in enhancing the growth of point bars that influence the rate of sinuosity increase through flow deflections in meander bends. We use an archive of Landsat images of 16 meandering reaches from across the Amazon Basin to show that rivers transporting larger sediment loads increase their sinuosity more rapidly than those carrying smaller loads. Sediment-rich rivers are dominated by downstream-rotating meanders that increase their sinuosity more rapidly than both extensional and upstream-rotating meanders. Downstream-rotating meanders appear to establish larger point bars that expand throughout the meander, in contrast to extensional meanders, which have smaller bars, and upstream rotating meanders, which are characterized by deposition over the bar head. These observations demonstrate that the size and position of point bars within meander bends influences flow routing and thus controls the dominant direction of meander growth. Rivers with low sediment supplies build smaller point bars, which reduces their capacity to increase meander curvature and the resulting sinuosity.


Ahmed, J., Constantine, J. A., & Dunne, T. (2019). The role of sediment supply in the adjustment of channel sinuosity across the Amazon Basin. Geology, 47(9), 807-810.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 29, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 19, 2019
Publication Date Jun 19, 2019
Deposit Date Sep 22, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Geology
Print ISSN 0091-7613
Electronic ISSN 1943-2682
Publisher Geological Society of America
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 47
Issue 9
Pages 807-810
Public URL
Publisher URL


Published article (575 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2019 The Authors. Gold Open Access: This paper is published under the terms of the CC-BY license

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