Investigating changes in channel complexity across the coastal zone
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[Author's abstract] Nearly half the world’s population lives in a coastal watershed where all the anthropogenic input to the hydrologic network are transported downstream and onto the continental shelf. This connectivity then extends to the movement of terrestrial matter by submarine canyon channels. At the period of low stand during the last glacial maximum, a channel system was established by erosional processes in the coastal zone of Baja peninsula. Now, that single system has been split into a marine submarine canyon and terrestrial river channels with different morphological processes at work. Have these diverging processes altered the morphology of the original system? Do the two systems compare in terms of channel delineation and network complexity? I investigated the spatial patterns in channel morphology across a coastal zone on the Baja peninsula, and quantifying the similarity between river and submarine channel complexity through measurements of channel sinuosity, network slope gradient and order length. By observing variations in spatial pattern metrics I was able to determine that similar types of processes are acting as the dominant force in control of the shape of channels in both the marine canyon system and the terrestrial riverine system.