University of Oulu

H. Marttila, S. Tammela, K.-R. Mustonen, P. Louhi, T. Muotka, H. Mykrä, B. Kløve; Contribution of flow conditions and sand addition on hyporheic zone exchange in gravel beds. Hydrology Research 1 June 2019; 50 (3): 878–885. doi:

Contribution of flow conditions and sand addition on hyporheic zone exchange in gravel beds

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Author: Marttila, H.1; Tammela, S.1; Mustonen, K.-R.2;
Organizations: 1Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
3Natural Resources Institute, Paavo Havaksentie 3, 90570 Oulu, Finland
4Finnish Environment Institute, Freshwater Centre, P.O. Box 413, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: IWA Publishing, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-02-27


We conducted a series of tracer test experiments in 12 outdoor semi-natural flumes to assess the effects of variable flow conditions and sand addition on hyporheic zone conditions in gravel beds, mimicking conditions in headwater streams under sediment pressure. Two tracer methods were applied in each experiment: 2–5 tracer-pulse tests were conducted in all flumes and pulses were monitored at three distances downstream of the flume inlet (0 m, 5 m and 10 m, at bed surface), and in pipes installed into the gravel bed at 5 m and 10 m distances. The tracer breakthrough curves (total of 120 tracer injections) were then analysed with a one-dimensional solute transport model (OTIS) and compared with data from the gravel pipes in point-dilution pulse tests. Sand addition had a strong negative effect on horizontal fluxes (qh), whereas the fraction of the median travel time due to transient storage (F₂₀₀) was determined more by flow conditions. These results suggest that even small additions of sand can modify the hyporheic zone exchange in gravel beds, thus making headwater streams with low sediment transport capacity particularly vulnerable to sediments transported into the stream from catchment land use activities.

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Series: Nordic hydrology
ISSN: 0029-1277
ISSN-E: 2224-7955
ISSN-L: 0029-1277
Volume: 50
Issue: 3
Pages: 878 - 885
DOI: 10.2166/nh.2019.099
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
218 Environmental engineering
Funding: This study was funded by Thule Institute, University of Oulu, and Academy of Finland (grant nos 132478 and 263601) and the MARS project (Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress) funded under the 7th EU Framework Programme, Theme 6 (Environment including Climate Change), Contract No. 603378 (
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 132478
Detailed Information: 132478 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
263601 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © IWA Publishing 2019. The definitive peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Hydrology Research 50(3), 878-885, 2019,, and is available at