Spatio-temporal changes in river bank mass failures in the Lockyer Valley, Queensland, Australia
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Wet-flow river bank failure processes are poorly understood relative to the more commonly studied processes of fluvial entrainment and gravity-induced mass failures. Using high resolution topographic data (LiDAR) and near coincident aerial photography, this study documents the downstream distribution of river bank mass failures which occurred as a result of a catastrophic flood in the Lockyer Valley in January 2011. In addition, this distribution is compared with wet flow mass failure features from previous large floods. The downstream analysis of these two temporal data sets indicated that they occur across a range of river lengths, catchment areas, bank heights and angles and do not appear to be scale-dependent or spatially restricted to certain downstream zones. The downstream trends of each bank failure distribution show limited spatial overlap with only 17% of wet flows common to both distributions. The modification of these features during the catastrophic flood of January 2011 also indicated that such features tend to form at some 'optimum' shape and show limited evidence of subsequent enlargement even when flow and energy conditions within the banks and channel were high. Elevation changes indicate that such features show evidence for infilling during subsequent floods. The preservation of these features in the landscape for a period of at least 150 years suggests that the seepage processes dominant in their initial formation appear to have limited role in their continuing enlargement over time. No evidence of gully extension or headwall retreat is evident. It is estimated that at least 12 inundation events would be required to fill these failures based on the average net elevation change recorded for the 2011 event. Existing conceptual models of downstream bank erosion process zones may need to consider a wider array of mass failure processes to accommodate for wet flow failures.
Geomorphology and Regolith and Landscape Evolution