Dynamic morphology of small south-eastern Mediterranean river mouths: A conceptual model

Michal Lichter, Micha Klein, Dov Zviely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


River mouths along the Israeli Mediterranean coast are characterized by a dynamic morphology as their channels migrate hundreds of meters along the coast. This study examines the dynamic morphology of seven such river mouths. It offers a conceptual model aimed at generalizing and describing their spatial and temporal morphological patterns, and the environmental factors influencing them. The study methodology comprised a detailed monitoring and mapping by GIS techniques, with quantitative data derived from historic aerial photographs, river discharge records, wave measurements, and a digital elevation model. These data were incorporated into a homogenous database and subsequently applied in the investigation of the morphological patterns of these mouths, and the analysis of their influencing factors. River mouths in this study occur in two distinctive topographic settings. In one setting (here termed barrier topography) the river mouth is deflected alongshore by a sandy barrier. In the second setting (termed funnel topography) the river mouth is confined to a funnel-shaped topographic depression perpendicular to the coast. The behavior of river mouths in these two settings is quite distinctive. Barrier mouths usually migrate over larger distances, as they tend to deflect along a sand barrier and establish semi-permanent channels along the dune toe. This enables the wide range migration of semi-permanent channels over decades. Funnel topography mouths deflect over shorter distances and they rapidly migrate within the funnel boundaries. This study concludes that the topographic setting of the beach, a constant element in the temporal scale of this study, is the primary influencing factor on the morphology of the mouths studied. The influence of other factors on the morphology of these mouths differs in space and time and depends on the topographic settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-562
Number of pages16
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Aerial photography
  • Coastal geomorphology
  • GIS
  • Israel
  • Topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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