EGU21-6012, updated on 15 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Geomorphological evolution of ephemeral rivers through historical and UAVs images

Askoa Ibisate1, Alfredo Ollero2, J. Horacio García3,4, Josu Ortiz Martínez de Lahidalga1, Ana Sáenz de Olazagoitia1, Yilena Hermoso2, Carmelo Conesa-García5, and Alvaro Gómez-Gutiérrez6
Askoa Ibisate et al.
  • 1University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Department of Geography, Prehistory and Archaeology, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain (
  • 2University of Zaragoza, Department of Geography and Territorial Planning, Zaragoza, Spain
  • 3University of Santiago de Compostela, Department of Geography, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • 4Laboratory of Environmental Technology (Institute of Technological Research), University of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain
  • 5University of Murcia, Department of Geography, Murcia, Spain
  • 6University of Extremadura, GeoEnvironmental Research Group, Cáceres, Spain

Ephemeral rivers hydromorphological processes are intermittent and many times of fast response. Therefore they remain still quite unknown. The geomorphological mapping of river forms and geomorphological units is a useful tool to recognize the evolution, changes and the response of river adjustments of hydrological events.

A diachronic geomorphological mapping has been done in some ephemeral rivers located in Ebro basin, Segura basin and Calabrian ephemeral rivers. We are presenting the specific results of six reaches distributed by the Ebro basin (Tudela, Reajo, Alpartir, Cariñena, Valcodo, Sosa and Seco). The first historical aerial image is that of the American Flight B of 1956-57, another of the mid 80’s, the last official ortophotography available (around 2017), and a specific flight with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) done during the winter of 2019. An altimetry correction has been performed on the first two images.

Different categories have been identified within the channel (active channel, principal channel and secondary channel), the sediment bars (vegetated, scant vegetated and non-active paleo-bars), the deposits coming from bank failures or tributaries, rocky areas, exhumed old sediment areas, consolidated or unconsolidated granular bed. The categories were mapped at different scales depending on the image quality (for example, from ≤ 1/300 scale of the UAV to ≤ 1/1,000 scale of the American flight).

This evolutionary cartography allows comparing the geomorphology of each river reach among different dates, considering the different resolution of the images and its limitations (i.e. previously, the results were unified to compare among them), and relating to the fluvial processes and changes on the river and basin.

This research was funded by ERDF/Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities—State Research Agency (AEI) /Project CGL2017-84625-C2-1-R; State Program for Research, Development and Innovation Focused on the Challenges of Society. 

How to cite: Ibisate, A., Ollero, A., García, J. H., Ortiz Martínez de Lahidalga, J., Sáenz de Olazagoitia, A., Hermoso, Y., Conesa-García, C., and Gómez-Gutiérrez, A.: Geomorphological evolution of ephemeral rivers through historical and UAVs images, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6012,, 2021.

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