Frontiers of Earth Science

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 262–276 | Cite as

Evolution model of a modern delta fed by a seasonal river in Daihai Lake, North China: determined from ground-penetrating radar and trenches

  • Beibei Liu
  • Chengpeng TanEmail author
  • Xinghe Yu
  • Xin Shan
  • Shunli Li
Research Article


While deltas fed by seasonal rivers are common in modern sedimentary environments, their characteristics remain unclear as compared to those fed by perennial rivers. This study identifies a small delta discharged by a seasonal stream flowing into Daihai Lake, in northern China, which is driven by ephemeral and high-energy flood events. Detailed 3D facies architecture was analyzed using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and sedimentary logs from outcrop and trenches. Four types of radar surfaces, including truncations of underlying inclined strata, weak reflections, and depositional surface of downlap and onlap, were identified. Six radar facies (high-angle oblique-tangential, low-angle subparallel, gently plane parallel, plane-parallel, chaotic, and continuous strong reflection) were identified based on distinctive reflections, including amplitude, continuity, dip, and termination patterns. Five depositional units (Unit A to E) were documented from proximal to distal delta. Seasonal discharge signatures include significant grain-size decrease over short distance, abundant Froude supercritical flow sedimentary structures, poorly developed barforms, and small-scale scour and fill structures. Records of lake-level and sediment budget were evaluated over the past 60 years. In highstand stage (1960–1980), amalgamated channel (Units A and B), and delta front (Unit C) were deposited. In slope stage (1980–1996), the lower deposits (Units A, B, C) were eroded by Unit D with a distinct truncation surface. In lowstand stage, most eroded sediments bypassed the incised channel and accumulated in the distal part, in which a new depositional unit was formed (Unit E). The model demonstrates that deltas fed by seasonal rivers tend to accumulate large amounts of sediments carried by high magnitude floods within short periods.


delta evolution seasonal discharge ground-penetrating radar sedimentary architecture Daihai Lake 


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This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41602117) and the opening foundation of the Key Laboratory of Marine Sedimentology & Environmental Geology, SOA (No. MASEG201706). We thank Xiaolu Li and Zhaopu Gao for their help in the field.We thank the anonymous reviewers for their thorough reviews and comments, which significantly improved the paper.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beibei Liu
    • 1
  • Chengpeng Tan
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Xinghe Yu
    • 4
  • Xin Shan
    • 3
  • Shunli Li
    • 4
  1. 1.College of GeosciencesChina University of PetroleumBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Geoscience and TechnologySouthwest Petroleum UniversityChengduChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Marine Sedimentology and Environmental Geology, First Institute of OceanographyState Oceanic AdministrationQingdaoChina
  4. 4.School of Energy ResourcesChina University of Geosciences (Beijing)BeijingChina

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