Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (3): 468-486.

• Research Articles •

### Adjustment in the main-channel geometry of the lower Yellow River before and after the operation of the Xiaolangdi Reservoir from 1986 to 2015

WANG Yanjun, WU Baosheng*(), ZHONG Deyu

1. State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
• Received:2019-10-31 Accepted:2019-12-10 Online:2020-03-25 Published:2020-05-20
• Contact: WU Baosheng E-mail:baosheng@tsinghua.edu.cn
• About author:Wang Yanjun, PhD, specializing in geomorphology and fluvial processes. E-mail: yanjun1113@126.com
• Supported by:
Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China(No.51639005);National Key R&D Program of China(No.2017YFC0405202);National Key R&D Program of China(No.2016YFC0402406)

Abstract:

Based on the measured discharge, sediment load, and cross-sectional data from 1986 to 2015 for the lower Yellow River, changes in the morphological parameters (width, depth, and cross-sectional geomorphic coef?cient) of the main channel are analyzed in this paper. The results show that before the operation of the Xiaolangdi Reservoir (XLDR) from 1986 to 1999, the main channel shrunk continually, with decreasing width and depth. The rate of reduction in its width decreased along the river whereas that of depth increased in the downstream direction. Because the rate of decrease in the width of the main channel was greater than that in channel depth, the cross-sectional geomorphic coef?cient decreased in the sub-reach above Gaocun. By contrast, for the sub-reach below Gaocun, the rate of decrease in channel width was smaller than that in channel depth, and the cross-sectional geomorphic coef?cient increased. Once the XLDR had begun operation, the main channel eroded continually, and both its width and depth increased from 2000 to 2015. The rate of increase in channel width decreased in the longitudinal direction, and the depth of the main channel in all sub-reaches increased by more than 2 m. Because the rate of increase in the depth of the main channel was clearly larger than that of its width, the cross-sectional geomorphic coef?cient decreased in all sub-reaches. The cross-sectional geometry of the main-channel of the lower Yellow River exhibited different adjustment patterns before and after the XLDR began operation. Before its operation, the main channel mainly narrowed in the transverse direction and silted in the vertical direction in the sub-reach above Aishan; in the sub-reach below Aishan, it primarily silted in the vertical direction. After the XLDR began operation, the main channel adjusted by widening in the transverse direction and deepening in the vertical direction in the sub-reach above Aishan; in the sub-reach below it, the main channel adjusted mainly by deepening in the vertical direction. Compared with the rates of decrease in the width and depth of the main channel during the siltation period, the rate of increase in channel width during the scouring period was clearly smaller while the rate of increase in channel depth was larger. After continual siltation and scouring from 1986 to 2015, the cross-sectional geometry of the main-channel changed from wide and shallow to relatively narrow and deep. The pattern of adjustment in the main channel was closely related to the water and sediment conditions. For the braided reach, the cross-sectional geomorphic coef?cient was negatively correlated with discharge and positively correlated with suspended sediment concentration (SSC) during the siltation period. By contrast, the cross-sectional geomorphic coef?cient was positively correlated with discharge and negatively correlated with SSC during the scouring period. For the transitional and meandering reaches, the cross-sectional geomorphic coef?cient was negatively correlated with discharge and positively correlated with SSC.