Jul 08 2011

What Does Bed Load Look Like?

Below are some interesting videos showing sediment transport from University of Minnesota’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory of 7mm (pea gravel) and 3.8mm (coarse sand) size sediment. This is about the bed load grain size range you typically see now on the Central Platte River (Lexington to Grand Island, Nebraska). The flow is about 1.2 cfs (cubic feet per second) and the transport is about 100g/m/s (about 3 tons/ft/day).

100 g/m/s (7 mm)


100 g/m/s (3.8 mm & 0.080 mm)


It’s obviously in very ideal conditions (even, flat bed) but even this demonstrates just how much black magic (apart from actual data collection, which is not cheap to do) is still required to estimate sediment transport in a typical channel (sand bed especially). Very cool stuff to a enginerd like me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>