Delayed neck cutoff in the meandering Black River of the Qinghai–Tibet plateau

Zhiwei Li, Peng Gao, Yuchi You, Alvise Finotello, Alessandro Ielpi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Neck cutoffs in meandering rivers have long been thought to occur when the neck width (b) approximates the mean width of the parent channel (W). Empirical evidence for this paradigm is scarce, however, because tracking late-stage evolution of meander bends prior to cutoff at sufficient temporal resolutions is difficult in natural rivers. In this study, we captured field and photogrammetric data depicting temporal changes of the banklines forming the neck of one meander bend, and values of the narrowest neck width for 14 highly sinuous bends, in the Black River of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau (China) over nearly four decades. Results show that the duration of bend evolution from the classic morphological threshold (b ≈ W) to the occurrence of neck cutoff could range from 52 to 161 years. This long period has hitherto been ignored by fluvial geomorphologists, and needs to be included in forthcoming kinematic and hydrodynamic models of meander evolution. Further analyses indicate that the neck narrowing process is autogenous at the local bend scale, neither controlled by the maximum bend sinuosity nor by the annual peak discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1052-1063
Number of pages12
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Meandering river
  • bend sinuosity
  • neck cutoff
  • peak discharge
  • remotely sensed images

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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