115 years of sediment deposition in a reservoir in Central Europe: Topographic change detection

Georg Stauch (Korresp. Autor*in), Lukas Dörwald, Alexander Esch, Janek Walk

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


Reservoirs have become an important component in the worldwide river sediment flux. Reservoirs prevent downstream sediment transport and have become a major sediment sink. In this study, sediment deposition during the last 115 years in the Urft Reservoir in western Germany is reconstructed. The Urft Reservoir is the oldest reservoir in the Eifel Mountains and was almost completely drained in 2020. This enabled a detailed mapping of the lake bottom using an unmanned aerial system and the computation of a high-resolution digital surface model. Topographic maps with a nominal resolution of 1:1000 from the time prior to the construction of the dam (around 1900) were used to construct a pre-reservoir elevation model. A digital elevation model of difference (DoD) was calculated from these two datasets for the reservoir floor (0.72 km2). Based on the DoD, a net sediment accumulation of 1.16 × 10^6 m3 was calculated alongside a propagated volume error of 6.91 × 10^5 m3, resulting in a mean accumulation of 1.54 m. Conservative vertical error propagation results in an average level of detection (LoD) of 1.8 m. In contrast, the comparison of the DoD with 47 cores in the upper part of the reservoir showed a mean difference of −0.11 m, indicating a high, independently assessed accuracy of the DoD. Three depositional hotspots were identified in the reservoir. One is close to the Urft dam where very fine sediments are draped across the pre-reservoir topography. Two areas are related to reservoir management. Sediment deposition in the Urft Reservoir has been comparably low in comparison to other regions globally, resulting in a 3.25% ± 1.93% loss of reservoir volume between 1905 and 2020. To analyse the effect of strong flooding events, a subset of the reservoir was analysed after an extreme event in July 2021, but accumulation did almost entirely not exceed the LoD.
Seiten (von - bis)582-600
FachzeitschriftEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Frühes Online-Datum17 Okt. 2023
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Feb. 2024

ÖFOS 2012

  • 207410 Photogrammetrie
  • 105404 Geomorphologie
  • 105308 Wasserressourcen
  • 207403 Geodäsie


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