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Caesium-137 in sandy sediments of the River Loire (France): Assessment of an alluvial island evolving over the last 50 years

Abstract : Recent sedimentological and morphological evolution of an island in the River Loire (France) was investigated using the 137Cs method. This study describes the morphological adjustment of the island in the last 50 years, which corresponds to the increased bed incision of this sandy, multiple-channel environment because of, among other things, the increase in sediment extraction up to 1995. The results show that some 137Cs can be retained by sandy particles, potentially in clay minerals forming weathering features included in detrital sand grains. From a morphological perspective, significant lateral erosion can be observed in the upstream part of the island, while a weak lateral accretion occurs in its downstream section. Data about 137Cs and aerial photographs show that the morphology of the island margins has undergone significant changes leading to a lateral migration, while the centre of the island has remained relatively stable or is slowly eroding. The migration of the island depends on: (1) the withdrawal of inherited preincision morphological units, such as levees, or the development of new units, such as a channel shelf; (2) water and sediment supply from surrounding channels during flood events; (3) preferential sediment trapping (20 mm year− 1) from the presence of riparian vegetation on the bank of the secondary channel that is subject to narrowing. The sedimentological and morphological response of the island in the context of incision of the Loire river bed is expressed mainly by lateral migration and secondarily by a low vertical adjustment.
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Sébastien Détriché, Stéphane Rodrigues, Jean-Jacques Macaire, Philippe Bonté, Jean-Gabriel Bréhéret, et al.. Caesium-137 in sandy sediments of the River Loire (France): Assessment of an alluvial island evolving over the last 50 years. Geomorphology, Elsevier, 2010, 115, pp.11-22. ⟨10.1016/j.geomorph.2009.07.003⟩. ⟨insu-00442620⟩

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