The topography of inland deltas is influenced by the water-sediment balance in distributary channels and local evaporation and seepage rates. In this letter a reduced complexity model is applied to simulate inland delta formation, and results are compared with the Okavango Delta, Botswana and with a laboratory experiment. We show that water loss in inland deltas produces fundamentally different dynamics of water and sediment transport than coastal deltas, especially deposition associated with expansion-contraction dynamics at the channel head. These dynamics lead to a systematic decrease in the mean topographic slope of the inland delta with distance from the apex following a power law with exponent α = −0.69 ± 0.02 where the data for both simulation and experiment can be collapsed onto a single curve. In coastal deltas, on the contrary, the slope increases toward the end of the deposition zone.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
- alluvial fan
- inland delta