Hjulstrom Graph Essay

499 Words2 Pages
Essay Topic: Explain the shapes of the curves on the Hjulstrom graph. The Hjulstrom graph best describes the relationship between the size of sediment and the velocity required to erode or lift it as well as transport and deposit the sediments. There are two terms that should be taken into consideration when understanding the Hjulstrom graph which is the competence and capacity of a river. The competence refers to the maximum size of material which a river is capable of transporting while the capacity is the total load actually transported. When the velocity of the river is low, only small particles such as clay, silt and fine sand can be picked up. However as the velocity increases larger materials can be moved. The relationship between particle size or the competence of the river and the velocity is shown greatly on the Hjulstrom graph. The mean or critical erosion velocity curve gives the lowest velocity needed to pick up and transport particles of various size. For example, sand can be moved easier than silt or clay, as fine- grained particles tend to be more cohesive. The material carried by the river or the capacity is responsible for most of the subsequent erosion. The mean fall or settling velocity curve shows the velocities at which particles of a given size become too heavy to be transported so therefore the sediments would be deposited. The graph on the previous page shows two important points which are that sand can be transported at lower velocities than either finer or coarser particles. During times of high discharge and velocity, the size and the amount of the river’s load will increase considerably causing increased erosion within the river’s channel. The second important point to take note of is that the velocity required to maintain particles in suspension is less than the velocity needed to pick them up. This means that for
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