Hyporheic flow path response to hydraulic jumps at river steps: Flume and hydrodynamic models

T. Endreny, L. Lautz, D. I. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


The conceptual model of hyporheic exchange below river steps may oversimplify exchange flow paths if it depicts a uniform pattern of downstream-directed upwelling. This research used nonmobile, porous bed flume experiments and hydrodynamic simulation (CFD) to characterize hyporheic flow paths below a river step with a hydraulic jump. Bed slope was 1%, step height was 4 cm, downstream flow depth was 4 cm, substrate was 1 cm median diameter gravel, and hydraulic jump length was 25 cm in the flume and CFD experiments. With the hydraulic jump, flow paths changed to include downwelling beneath the water plunging into the pool and upstream-directed upwelling at the base of the step and beneath the length of jump. Failure to represent the influence of static and dynamic pressures associated with hydraulic jumps leads to erroneous prediction of subsurface flow paths in 75% of the streambed beneath the jump. A refined conceptual model for hyporheic flow paths below a step with a hydraulic jump includes reversed hyporheic circulation cells, in which downwelling water moves upstream and then upwells, and flow reversals, in which the larger flow net of downstream-directed upwelling encounters a nested flow path of upstream-directed upwelling. Heterogeneity in hyporheic flow paths at hydraulic jumps has the potential to explain field-observed mosaics in streambed redox patterns and expand structure-function relationships used in river management and restoration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberW02517
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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