Bar structure in an arid ephemeral stream

Marwan A. Hassan, Philip M. Marren, Uri Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study describes the structure of gravel bars in Nahal Zin, an ephemeral stream in the Negev desert. The internal structure of the bars was examined along trenches and in shallow pits. Gravel sheets and unit bars form during transporting flow events in the main channel, on intra-bar channels and near bar heads. Unit bars are dominated by the Go facies. Compound bars develop from accretion around, and modification of, unit bars. Compound bars are active under the current flow regime and the average depth of the fill layer is about 35 cm. The structure of compound bars is dominated by Gm (massive), containing large amounts of sand. The second most common facies is clast-supported, openwork, and well sorted sediments of the Go (pebbles) facies. Bar formation, and the development of the range of facies evident in the bars is controlled by sediment supply, particularly the high volumes of sand-sized sediment, the passage of gravel sheets and bedforms during floods, and the lateral and vertical instability of the channel. Repeated scour and fill events have produced a diverse arrangement of facies, with numerous erosional contacts between depositional units. Lateral and downstream shifts in the pattern of scour and fill due to flow and antecedent conditions shape the channel morphology and bar internal structure. Ephemeral river bars differ from those of humid and proglacial rivers in terms of the dominant facies present, the arrangement of the facies within the bars, and the sedimentary structures developed within the depositional units and on the bar surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
JournalSedimentary Geology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bar structure
  • Compound bars
  • River bed
  • Sediment transport
  • Unit bars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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