In situ reconstruction of long-term extreme flooding magnitudes and frequencies based on geological archives

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Science of the Total Environment, 2019, 670 pp. 8 - 17
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Extreme flooding magnitudes and frequencies are essentially related to assessment of risk and reliability in hydrological design. Extreme flooding and its discharge are highly sensitive to regional climate change. Presently, its discharge can be reconstructed by a geological archive or record along the river valley. Two units of typical extreme flooding deposits (EFDs) carrying long-term information preserved in the Holocene loess–palaeosol sequence were found at Xipocun (XPC), which is located in Chengcheng County, China. It is situated in the downstream section of the Beiluohe (hereafter BLH) River. Based on multiple sedimentary proxy indices (grain-size distribution (GSD), magnetic susceptibility (MS), and loss-on-ignition (LOI), etc.), EFDs were interpreted as well-sorted clayey silt in suspension. They were then deposited as a result of riverbank flooding in a stagnant environment during high water level. Through the Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating technique and stratigraphic correlations, chronologies of two identified extreme flooding periods were 7600–7400 a B.P. and 3200–3000 a B.P. Two phases of extreme flooding occurrence under climate abnormality scenarios were characterized as having high frequencies of hydrological extremes in river systems. According to simulation and verification using the Slope–Area Method and Hydrologic Engineering Center's River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) model, the extreme flooding discharges at the XPC site were reconstructed between 9625 m 3 /s and 16,635 m 3 /s. A new long-term flooding frequency and peak discharge curve, involved gauged flooding, historical flooding at Zhuangtou station and in situ reconstructed extreme flooding events, was established for the downstream BLH River. The results improve the accuracy of low-frequency flooding risk assessment and provide evidence for predicting the response of fluvial systems to climate instability. Thus, this improves the analysis of the BLH River watershed.
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