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Laboratory observations on meltwater meandering rivulets on ice

Fernández, Roberto; Parker, Gary


Gary Parker


We present a set of observations on meltwater meandering rivulets on ice and compare them (qualitatively and quantitatively) to morphologies commonly found in meandering channels in different media. The observations include data from planned centimeter-scale experiments and from incidental self-formed millimeter-scale rivulets. Our data show pulsed lateral migration features, undercut banks and overhangs, meander bend skewness, and meander bend cutoffs. The data also compare well with planform characteristics of alluvial meandering rivers (sinuosity, wavelength-to-width ratios, and meander bend fatness and skewness). We discuss the (ir)relevance of scale in our experiments, which, in spite of being in the laminar flow regime and likely affected by surface tension effects, are capable of shedding light into the processes driving formation and evolution of supraglacial meltwater meandering channels. Our observations suggest that sinuosity growth in meltwater meandering channels on ice is a function of flow velocity and the interplay between vertical and lateral incision driven by temperature differences between flow and ice. In the absence of recrystallization (depositional analog to alluvial rivers), bends are more likely to be downstream-skewed and channels show lower sinuosities.


Fernández, R., & Parker, G. (in press). Laboratory observations on meltwater meandering rivulets on ice. Earth surface dynamics ESURF ; an interactive open access journal of the European Geosciences Union, 9(2), 253-269.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 16, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 30, 2021
Deposit Date Apr 3, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 6, 2021
Journal Earth Surface Dynamics
Print ISSN 2196-632X
Publisher European Geosciences Union
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 2
Pages 253-269
Keywords Earth-Surface Processes; Geophysics
Public URL


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