Graded suspension: measurement and modelling

Scientific issue

In direct connection with developments in hydrometry, the team has made a major effort to measure sand suspension in rivers, focusing in particular on large rivers (Rhône, Colorado, Mekong, Amazon)

Scientific questions

  • Contribution of acoustic measurement (Aquascat, ADCP, HADCP) for the measurement of sand concentration
  • How to establish a sediment rating curve for sand suspension and what uncertainties on sediment rating curves?

Methodology and results

A major effort was made during the PhD thesis of G. Dramais on the solid gauging of suspended sands and the development of sediment rating curves including uncertainty analyse.

Estimation of the spatialised sand  flux throughout the River Rhône at Perrache and corresponding sediment rating curve

Today, the team is focusing on the continuous estimation of sand fluxes via hydro-acoustic measurement. This is being done in the framework of Jessica Laible’s thesis.


  • 2021-2023: Rhône Sediment Observatory (OSR6)
  • 2019-2022: ANR DEAR project “Deposit and Erosion of fine sediment in Alpine Rivers”
  • 2018-2020: Rhône Sediment Observatory (OSR5)



Hybam, IGE, CNR, EDF.


USGS (Flagstaff, eq. D. Topping)

PhD thesis and post-doctoral projects

  • 2020-2023 : Laible J. Quantification de la dynamique sableuse dans la Basse-Isère jusqu’au Rhône. Université C. Bernard, Lyon 1.
  • 2017-2020 : Dramais G. Méthodes d’estimation des flux de sable dans les grands cours d’eau.. Université C. Bernard, Lyon 1.
  • 2016-2018: Vergne A. Hydroacoustic measurement of suspended sand gradients in large rivers
  • 2009-2011: Moore S. Suivi des flux d’eau et de matières en suspension dans les cours d’eau par profileurs acoustiques Doppler horizontaux . Ecole doctorale Terre-Univers-Environnement, Université de Grenoble


  • Armijos E., Crave A., Espinoza J. C., Filizola, N., Espinoza-Villar R., Ayes I., Fonseca P., Fraizy P., Gutierrez O., Vauchel P., Camenen B., Martiınez J.-M., Dos Santos A., Santini W., Cochonneau G. & Guyot J.-L. (2020). Rainfall control on Amazon sediment flux: synthesis from 20 years of monitoring. Environmental Research Letters. 2(051008): 1-12, doi: 10.1088/2515-7620/ab9003
  • Camenen, B., Naudet, G., Dramais, G. Le Coz, J & Paquier A. (2019). A multi-technique approach for evaluating sand dynamics in a complex engineered piedmont river system. Science of the Total Environment, 657:485-497.
  • Santini, W., Camenen, B. , Le Coz, J., Vauchel, P., Guyot, J.-L., Lavado, W., Carranza, J., Paredes, M., Pères-Arévalo, J. J., Arévalo, N., Espinoza-Villar, R., Julien, F. & Martinez, J.M. (2019). An index concentration method for suspended load monitoring. Earth Surface Dynamics, 7(2): 515-536
  • Camenen, B., Le Coz, J., Dramais, G., Peteuil, C., Fretaud, T., Falgon, A., Dussouillez, P., Moore, S. A. (2014). A simple physically-based model for predicting sand transport dynamics in the Lower Mekong River. Proc. River Flow conference, Lausanne, Switzerland, 8p.
  • Moore, S.A., Le Coz, J., Hurther, D., Paquier, A. (2013) – Using multi-frequency attenuation to monitor grain size and concentration of suspended sediment in rivers, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 133 (4), 1959–1970
  • Moore, S.A., Le Coz, J., Hurther, D., Paquier, A. (2012) – On the Application of Horizontal ADCPs to Suspended Sediment Transport Surveys in Rivers, Continental Shelf Research, 46, 50-63