Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Readjustments of a sinuous river during the last 6000 years in northwestern Europe (Cher River, France): From an active meandering river to a stable river course under human forcing

Abstract : Palaeomeanders are characteristic features of meandering river floodplains. Some were abandoned several millennia ago and can be used as evidence for past fluvial patterns. Despite many observations of changes undergone by meandering rivers, little is known about long-term morphological adjustment of meanders. This paper reports on investigations conducted in two reaches located in the middle valley of the Cher River (northwestern Europe, France) to examine the readjustments of lowland meanders during the second half of the Holocene. The aim of our study was to provide new insights into the complex dynamics that control low-energy meandering rivers. LiDAR DEM spatial analyses coupled with geophysical surveys and observations of sediments enabled the identification and dating of thirteen palaeomeanders embedded in coarse sediments (sand and gravel) while the whole floodplain is covered by silty overbank deposits. Sedimentological, geochemical and pollen analyses combined with radiocarbon and OSL dating allowed us to reconstruct the chronology of the cutoff and the filling of palaeochannels. No palaeochannels older than ca 6000 yr cal. BP, and no palaeochannels younger than the eleventh-thirteenth centuries cal. AD were identified. This allowed us to distinguish two periods of meandering processes. (1) Our observations demonstrate the multi-millennia persistence of an active meandering pattern in a context of land use changes (ca 6000 yr cal. BP-eleventh-thirteenth centuries cal. AD). The preserved mobility of the river can be mainly interpreted as the result of the low cohesiveness of the bank material. Too few fine sediments were delivered during the proto-historical and historical periods to help stabilize the river course. (2) Following the eleventh-thirteenth centuries cal. AD, the fluvial system underwent a laterally stable phase. The many medieval and modern hydraulic engineering works reduced the specific stream power and prevented lateral erosion. The drastic decrease in the river's capacity to generate new meanders resulted in the disappearance of floodplain lakes and loss of habitat diversity.
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [126 references]  Display  Hide  Download

https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02922125
Contributor : Anaëlle Vayssière <>
Submitted on : Friday, September 18, 2020 - 11:33:38 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 23, 2021 - 3:51:48 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 12:23:58 PM

File

1-s2.0-S0169555X20303688-main....
Files produced by the author(s)

Identifiers

Citation

Anaëlle Vayssière, Cyril Castanet, Emmanuèle Gautier, Clément Virmoux, Thomas Depret, et al.. Readjustments of a sinuous river during the last 6000 years in northwestern Europe (Cher River, France): From an active meandering river to a stable river course under human forcing. Geomorphology, Elsevier, 2020, pp.107395. ⟨10.1016/j.geomorph.2020.107395⟩. ⟨hal-02922125⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

519

Files downloads

237