Large woody material (LW) transported by rivers may be entrapped at critical stream geometry configurations (e.g. bridges) and therefore dramatically increase the destructive power of floods. This was the case in a Spanish mountain river where a flood event with a high degree of LW transport took place in 1997. The aim of this study was to simulate a bridge clogging process and reconstruct the wood deposit patterns, modelling individual pieces of wood moving with the water flow and interacting among them and with the bridge. A two dimensional numerical model was developed to simulate the transport of LW and its effect on hydrodynamics. Different scenarios for the wood transport rate allowed us to study the influence of inlet boundary conditions on bridge clogging. For the studied event, the scenario which best reproduced the bridge clogging effect and flood characteristics was one in which 60% of the total wood entered before the peak discharge. This dropped to 30% at the peak itself, and finally fell to 10% during the recession curve. In addition, the accumulation patterns of LW along the reach were computed and compared with post-event field photographs, showing that the model succeeded in predicting the deposition patterns of wood and those areas prone to form wood jams.

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Published on 01/01/2014

DOI: 10.1002/esp.3456
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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