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Channel changes in the Jarama and Tagus rivers (central Spain) over the past 500 years

AutorUribelarrea, David; Pérez-González, Alfredo; Benito, Gerardo
Palabras claveChannel changes
Fecha de publicaciónoct-2003
CitaciónQuaternary Science Reviews, 22, 2209-2221
ResumenLong-term channel changes of the Tagus and the Jarama Rivers in central Spain were studied in relation to variations in hydroclimatic factors, such as rainfall and flooding, and also with respect to human activities undertaken in their valleys. Data were taken from historical (1580–1823) and topographical (1877–1988) maps, as well as aerial photographs (1945–1999). The available hydroclimatic data consists of a series of monthly rainfall totals (1859–1994) and mean river flow values recorded at gauging stations (1911–1985). In addition, a historical flood record (1550–1947) was produced from documentary sources. Some of the data was incorporated into a geographical information system (GIS) to quantify the changes in the course of the rivers. The results show there have been two distinct periods: before and after human intervention in the river system, which took place around 1950. During the earlier period (1550–1950), a correlation exists between climate, frequency and magnitude of flooding and changes in fluvial geomorphology. Between 1860 and 1892 an increase in flood frequency and magnitude occurred, which produced half of the cut-offs recorded in the study area between 1823 and 1877. The meanders length (L), width (W) and radius of curvature (RC) of the Tagus River have decreased since 1750. However, those of the Jarama reached their maximum values during flood periods. Both rivers have different geomorphological responses during flood events, which can explain these different trends. Floods in the Jarama not only led to the cut-offs, but also enlarged the channel size (L, W and RC). In the second period (1956—present), flow regulation via dams and gravel mining modified the system completely and impeded the natural development of these rivers.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0277-3791(03)00153-7
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