Skip to main content
placeholder image

Waterholes and their significance in the anastomosing channel system of Cooper Creek, Australia

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Cooper Creek has developed a very extensive system of anastomosing channels, a distinctive feature of which is the preponderance of waterholes, which are readily identified as deepened and widened reaches of channel with more or less permanent water. They are widely distributed over the floodplain but tend to decrease in number downstream, possibly as a result of transmission losses which reduce erosive potential, and to develop preferentially towards the west, which has implications for the long-term relocation of the system. Classification of waterholes according to degree of lateral restriction and flow status reveals only muted contrasts in waterhole form between the various types. The one clear distinction is the unexpectedly low width/length ratio of the most restricted (dune-flanked) type, its squat form being attributable to erodible banks and limited downstream confinement. That waterholes have developed in abundance along Cooper Creek appears to be related to the presence of a more easily eroded sand sheet at depths of only 2-9 m below cohesive surface sediments. Sediment splays at their downstream ends indicate that waterholes can be maintained by the present regime but whether they were formed by that or a prior regime is a matter of debate. Some degree of inheritance cannot be discounted but a contemporary origin is favoured in view of the fact that most waterholes are located at points of flow convergence. By focusing erosional energy when the floodplain is extremely broad, waterholes play a significant role not only in maintaining existing channel lines but also in promoting the development of new ones, as the invasion of a dune field testifies. �� 1994.

Publication Date


  • 1994

Citation


  • Knighton, A. D., & Nanson, G. C. (1994). Waterholes and their significance in the anastomosing channel system of Cooper Creek, Australia. Geomorphology, 9(4), 311-324. doi:10.1016/0169-555X(94)90052-3

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0028667779

Web Of Science Accession Number


Start Page


  • 311

End Page


  • 324

Volume


  • 9

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication


Abstract


  • Cooper Creek has developed a very extensive system of anastomosing channels, a distinctive feature of which is the preponderance of waterholes, which are readily identified as deepened and widened reaches of channel with more or less permanent water. They are widely distributed over the floodplain but tend to decrease in number downstream, possibly as a result of transmission losses which reduce erosive potential, and to develop preferentially towards the west, which has implications for the long-term relocation of the system. Classification of waterholes according to degree of lateral restriction and flow status reveals only muted contrasts in waterhole form between the various types. The one clear distinction is the unexpectedly low width/length ratio of the most restricted (dune-flanked) type, its squat form being attributable to erodible banks and limited downstream confinement. That waterholes have developed in abundance along Cooper Creek appears to be related to the presence of a more easily eroded sand sheet at depths of only 2-9 m below cohesive surface sediments. Sediment splays at their downstream ends indicate that waterholes can be maintained by the present regime but whether they were formed by that or a prior regime is a matter of debate. Some degree of inheritance cannot be discounted but a contemporary origin is favoured in view of the fact that most waterholes are located at points of flow convergence. By focusing erosional energy when the floodplain is extremely broad, waterholes play a significant role not only in maintaining existing channel lines but also in promoting the development of new ones, as the invasion of a dune field testifies. �� 1994.

Publication Date


  • 1994

Citation


  • Knighton, A. D., & Nanson, G. C. (1994). Waterholes and their significance in the anastomosing channel system of Cooper Creek, Australia. Geomorphology, 9(4), 311-324. doi:10.1016/0169-555X(94)90052-3

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0028667779

Web Of Science Accession Number


Start Page


  • 311

End Page


  • 324

Volume


  • 9

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication