In this paper we analyze the Hirano active layer model used in mixed sediment river morphodynamics concerning its ill-posedness. Ill-posedness causes the solution to be unstable to short-wave perturbations. This implies that the solution presents spurious oscillations, the amplitude of which depends on the domain discretization. Ill-posedness not only produces physically unrealistic results but may also cause failure of numerical simulations. By considering a two-fraction sediment mixture we obtain analytical expressions for the mathematical characterization of the model. Using these we show that the ill-posed domain is larger than what was found in previous analyses, not only comprising cases of bed degradation into a substrate finer than the active layer but also in aggradational cases. Furthermore, by analyzing a three-fraction model we observe ill-posedness under conditions of bed degradation into a coarse substrate. We observe that oscillations in the numerical solution of ill-posed simulations grow until the model becomes well-posed, as the spurious mixing of the active layer sediment and substrate sediment acts as a regularization mechanism. Finally we conduct an eigenstructure analysis of a simplified vertically continuous model for mixed sediment for which we show that ill-posedness occurs in a wider range of conditions than the active layer model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-235
Number of pages17
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

    Research areas

  • Ill-posedness, Mixed sediment, River morphodynamics

ID: 42059099