The goal of the conference is to bring together a diverse group of fluvial geoscientists and provide a forum to exchange ideas, challenge current paradigms and forge new partnerships that can help expand our understanding of fluvial sedimentology now and in the future. Keynote and invited speakers, along with the technical sessions (oral and poster) and field trips, will provide attendees with a wealth of opportunity to interact with other members of the fluvial sedimentology community.
The conference is organised into four overarching theme areas focussing on:
Exploring processes and interactions of fluvial dynamics with other systems and extreme environments, including marine, lacustrine, aeolian, arctic, extra-terrestrial, and pre-vegetation / vegetation-free landscapes
The transition zone from fluvial to marine represents one of the most dynamic environments on Earth. Driven by the combined action of river and tidal currents, the fluvial to marine transition zone is characterized by a continuously changing landscape, where strong gradients in flow stratification, salinity, suspended sediment concentrations and a host of other chemical and biological processes occur. Located at the land-ocean interface, these environments are generally low-lying and therefore increasingly vulnerable to inundation due to relative sea-level rise as well as river floods. Furthermore, some of the world’s largest hydrocarbon resources (e.g. Cretaceous Athabasca Oil Sands) occur in sediments interpreted to be of fluvial-tidal origin. Although fluvial to tidal depositional systems have been well studied in the context of sequence stratigraphy, their morphodynamics and related sedimentary products remains poorly understood. Particularly, producing diagnostic criteria for where one finds itself in the fluvial-tidal transitions (i.e. from strongly fluvial to strongly tidal) remains challenging. A step change in the understanding of these depositional systems is needed to inform decision-making on environmental change and for reservoir engineering purposes.
Complex interactions between different hydraulic regimes along the sediment transport pathway from source to sink can influence flow and sediment transport, control kinematics of rivers, deltas and shelf margins, and mediate their ultimate stratigraphic record. Transitions between such hydraulic regimes may include the backwater zone in rivers and the shallow to deep water transition at the continental shelf edge. This session welcomes recent research on the impact of terrestrial and marine processes on sedimentation, and landform kinematics and depositional architectures associated with rivers in the coastal zone and associated deeper-water environments. We encourage research that includes observational data from modern and ancient systems, as well as experimental and/or numerical modelling approaches.
Fluvial and alluvial systems developed in semi-arid to hyper-arid (desert) settings are governed by a suite of processes that differ markedly from those that operate in more humid settings. Consequently, the accumulated sedimentary deposits of dryland systems are characterized by distinct facies associations and arrangements of architectural elements. Many dryland rivers experience ephemeral flow and are subject to “flashy” discharge regimes. Channels are commonly broad and shallow, such that expansive overland flow occurs routinely during peak discharge events. Fluvial systems interact dynamically with other dryland environments, including aeolian dune systems, playa lakes and marine shorelines. This session seeks to bring together results of the latest research relating to the sedimentology of dryland fluvial and alluvial systems, and to examine system interactions with other dryland environments. We invite presentations covering all aspects of the geomorphology, sedimentology and stratigraphy of fluvial and alluvial systems developed in dryland settings. Contributions are invited on topics that include, but are not limited to, the following: geomorphic expression of dryland fluvial and alluvial systems, processes of sediment transport and deposition in dryland fluvial and alluvial systems, fluvial and aeolian interaction processes and products; facies models for desert sedimentary systems; allogenic versus autogenic controls on desert sedimentary systems; desert basins in the context of hydrocarbon exploration; palaeosol development in dryland fluvial systems, adaptation of life to extreme dryland depositional systems.
Although the precise nature of pre-vegetation depositional processes has long been subject of debate, clear guidelines for the analysis of their depositional signatures remain elusive. Before vegetation developed on land, the depositional dynamics of rivers have been considered as systematically different from modern-day systems. Even differences that seems small may have been relevant when integrated over millions of years, and such systematic bias has probably affected landscape development for the larger part of Earth’s geological history.
Did the greening of the land have a real impact on channel plan-form? How did floodplains operate before vegetation, and how much mud was present? Are channel patterns and deposits on Mars a useful analogue for a pre-vegetation Earth, and vice versa? Do fluvial systems in deserts provide clues? Our understanding of pre-vegetation rivers is of immediate practical importance as many Cambrian and Precambrian river deposits have potential as reservoirs for groundwater and the geological storage of CO2, and some host important mineral resources such as gold and uranium. We therefore encourage submissions of papers on the depositional architecture of pre-Silurian river systems, Modern desert systems and those that explicitly seek to quantify the influence of vegetation on river dynamics.