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Analyzing the relationship between seismic spectrum, water discharge and bedload transport in dynamic gravel-bed rivers

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Abstract

Seismic data are typically employed to monitor earthquake activity, but they can also be exploited in order to investigate the existing links betweenthe seismic signal and a broad range of physical processes occurring in the nearby rivers. For instance, the noise related to water turbulence duringhigh discharges has a clear impact on the seismic signal. Concurrently, high-flows in gravel-bed rivers involve the displacement of large volumesof coarse sediment particles, travelling as bedload, which in turn should be the source of an additional and non-negligible amount of seismic noise.Data derived from the 3-years seismic monitoring of a gravel-bed river located in NW of Spain are considered. First, we have accomplished spectralanalysis over the seismic noise generated by more than 10 river flow events with high discharge. Then, we have applied several statistical analysisnot only for calibrating the functions describing the links between seismic noise and fluvial discharge but also in order to identify the thresholds fordetection of incipient bedload transport and geomorphic change in the seismic signal.
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