Document Type


Publication Date



We compiled a data set of 541 bankfull measurements of alluvial rivers (see supporting information) and used Bayesian linear regression to examine empirical and theoretical support for the hypothesis that alluvial channels adjust to a predictable condition of basal shear stress as a function of sediment transport mode. An empirical closure based on channel slope, bankfull channel depth, and median grain size is proposed and results in the scaling of bankfull Shields stress with the inverse square root of particle Reynolds number. The empirical relationship is sufficient for purposes of quantifying paleohydraulic conditions in ancient alluvial channels. However, it is not currently appropriate for application to alluvial channels on extraterrestrial bodies because it depends on constant-valued, Earth-based coefficients.

Publication Title

Water Resources Research




An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright 2013 American Geophysical Union. To view the published open abstract, go to and enter the DOI.