Stochastic theories for sediment transport

Research Summary

Acknowledging the stochastic nature of the processes that drive the evolution of the landscapes is essential for building predictive models of sediment transport on the Earth’s surface. This is important for a variety of reasons, including, understanding the coupled evolution of hillslopes and channels, hazard mitigation, and forecasting landscape evolution to changing climate and tectonic conditions. However, traditional models often do not acknowledge the inherent variability in the driving forces, and the broad scales of motion that a sediment particle experiences as it traverses the landscape. Our work has focused on developing a new class of macroscopic sediment transport models which take into account the probabilistic structure of the processes that shape the landscapes. These models are based on non-local theories, where sediment flux is not only a function of local hydro-geomorphic quantities but is a linear function of the space-time history of the system. Our goal is to develop sediment transport models that capture the effect of variability of the physical processes over a wide range of scales, consider the presence of fluctuations that arise due to the climatic forcing, and incorporate the spatial heterogeneity of landscapes that affects sediment production, storage, movement and delivery.

Selected Articles on this Topic

  • Torres, M., A. Limaye, V. Ganti, M. P. Lamb, W. W. Fischer, and A. J. West (2017), Model predictions of long-lived storage of organic carbon in river deposits, Earth Surf. Dynam., doi:10.5194/esurf-2017-29, in press.
  • DiBiase, R. A., M. P. Lamb, V. Ganti, and A. M. Booth (2017), Slope, grain size, and roughness controls on on dry sediment transport and storage on steep hillslopes, J. Geophys. Res. – Earth Surf., 122, 941–960, doi: 10.1002/2016JF003970.
  • Falcini, F., E. Foufoula-Georgiou, V. Ganti, C. Paola, and V. R. Voller (2013), A combined non-linear and non-local model for sediment transport in depositional systems, J. Geophys. Res. – Earth Surf., 118, doi:10.1029/2012JF002547.
  • Ganti, V., M. M. Meerschaert, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, E. Viparelli, and G. Parker (2010), Normal and anomalous diffusion of gravel tracer particles in rivers, J. Geophys. Res. – Earth Surf., 115, F00A12, doi:10.1029/2008JF001222.
  • Foufoula-Georgiou, E., V. Ganti, and W. E. Dietrich (2010), A nonlocal theory of sediment transport on hillslopes, J. Geophys. Res. – Earth Surf., 115, F00A16, doi:10.1029/2009JF001280.
  • Ganti, V., A. Singh, P. Passalacqua, and E. Foufoula-Georgiou (2009), Subordinated Brownian motion model for sediment transport, Phys. Rev. E., 80(1), DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.80.011111.


Physical controls on the measurement of geologic time and the architecture of stratigraphy


Mechanics of river avulsions on deltas and their deposits