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Glossary of Terms & Definitions
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Aggradation

photo of aggradation in Mojave River
Aggradation involves the raising of the streambed elevation, an increase in width/depth ratio, and a corresponding decrease in channel capacity. Over-bank flows occur more frequently with less-than-high-water events. Excess sediment deposition in the channel and on floodplains is characteristic of the aggrading river. Often, the cause of aggradation is an increase in upstream sediment load and/or size of sediment exceeding the transport capacity of the channel. Aggradation can be a result of instability caused by over-widening of the channel with a resultant decrease in stream power and shear stress. In other instances, aggradation can be caused by tectonic process downstream of an affected reach, inducing deposition from a channel slope decrease. Increases in the width/depth ratio causes aggradation by decreasing depth, decreasing velocity due to increased frictional resistance, changing slope, reducing shear stress and unit stream power, decreasing competence and reducing sediment transport capacity. A decrease in unit stream power indicates a corresponding dramatic reduction in both size and transport rate of bedload

Adverse consequences associated with aggradation include channel avulsion (complete abandonment and initiation of a new channel) and major changes in the evolution of stream types. The sediment supply and adverse effects on beneficial uses can be very high due to the corresponding adjustments of the channel.

Source - EPA

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