Numerical assessments of bed morphological evolution in mountain river confluences under effects of hydro-morphological factors

Xu Feng Yan, Huan Feng Duan, Qing Yuan Yang, Tong Huan Liu, Yi Sun, Xie Kang Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding hydro-morphological characteristics in mountain river confluences is significant in flood disaster mitigation and mountain river restoration, which is still poorly explored. This study employed a 2D hydro-morphological model based on the finite element method to simulate the major bed morphological features in a mountainous-type flume confluence and evaluate the effects of main controlling factors on these features. The modelling results show that the dominant bed morphological features in mountain river confluences can be well produced by the 2D model. Five controlling factors including downstream water level (H), branch discharge ratio (Qr), main channel sediment supply ratio (ψ), tributary slope (St) and confluence angle (α) reflecting different flow-sediment-geometry scenarios were adopted into a sensitive study. The upstream reach of the main channel is controlled by H and ψ and their decreases lead to bed degradation. The increase in Qr, St, and α mainly results in bed aggradation and steepening in the tributary, attaining a higher sediment transport rate. This contrasts the existing experimental results, due to the difference in sediment feeding. The size of the bank-attached bar is promoted by the increase in Qr, St, and α and the decrease in H and ψ. A quantitative analysis shows that the water surface slope well correlates with various dimensions of the scour hole and bar morphology (correlation = 0.58–0.8). Meanwhile, the bank-attached bar displays a strong self-similarity (correlation = 0.84–0.98) regarding its geometric dimensions. This study provides new insights into the existing knowledge of the hydro-sediment-morphodynamics of mountain river confluences obtained from laboratory studies and field investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14488
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • bank-attached bar
  • bed discordance
  • hydro-morphological modelling
  • mountain river confluence
  • scour hole
  • sensitive study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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