Paraná River Project - Background: Research Objectives

Living with the river Downstream view of the Paraná River


The overall aim of this project is to develop an improved quantitative understanding of the interactions between flow, sediment transport, morphology and sedimentology in one of the World’s largest braided rivers. This aim will be fulfilled by the following objectives:

  1. Identify the principal bar types in large braided rivers and quantify their morphology and development.
  2. Quantify the 3D flow field and bedload and suspended load transport rates over and around the km-scale braid bars identified in O1, at two flow stages.
  3. Quantify the relationships between flow structure, sediment transport, bedform dynamics and braid-bar morphology, and their dependence on flow stage/relative bar submergence, using a CFD model with boundary conditions derived from O1 and O2.
  4. Establish typical facies type, clay content, and the thickness, frequency and spatial distribution of different elements of the alluvial architecture of large braid-bars for recent (1-3 years), established (10 yrs+) and older (1000 yrs+) bar deposits.
  5. Ascertain the influence that fine suspended sediment may have on the braid bars in O1 and O2 and the resultant alluvial architecture (O4).
  6. Investigate the relationship between flow structure, sediment transport, braid-bar growth and dynamics and bar subsurface sedimentology in large rivers using a Reduced-Complexity (RC) model developed, evaluated and implemented using data and CFD model output from O1-O5.
  7. Apply this RC model to simulate channel evolution over contemporary (less than 100 yrs) and longer (1000 yrs+) time periods in order to investigate the controls on deposit preservation in large rivers.