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The significance of morphometric analysis to understand the hydrological and morphological characteristics in two different morpho-climatic settings

The significance of morphometric analysis to understand the hydrological and morphological... Drainage morphometric parameters are important indicator to understand the hydrological and morphological characteristics of any region. Present study aims to understand the hydrological and morphological characteristics in two different morpho- climatic settings from drainage basin morphometric parameters. Remote sensing and GIS have been used as efficient tools in delineating and understanding of any drainage basin morphometry. The Kosi River basin of northern India for the moun- tain–plain tropical environment and Kangsabati River basin of eastern India for the plateau–plain sub-humid environment has been selected for the present study. The geological, geomorphological, hydrological, fluvial characteristics have been stressed out under linear, areal and relief aspects of morphometric parameters. The drainage morphometric parameters have been determined and measured after using the Advanced Space borne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer global DEM (90 m) in ARC GIS 10.1. All the linear morphometric measures of mountain–plain humid Kosi River basin indicate its high flood potentiality, whereas, linear morphometric measures of Kangsabati River basin indicate less flood potential- ity and plateau landform characteristics of sub-humid environment. The mean bifurcation ratio also indicates Kosi River has greater flood potentiality than Kangsabati River. Kosi River has drained large amount of water due to its near-circular basin shape than Kangsabati River which has an elongated shape. All the relief characteristics indicate that tropical moun- tain–plain environment dominated Kosi River basin is in rejuvenated or young stage of geomorphic development, whereas sub-humid plateau–plain dominated Kangsabati River basin is in mature stage of geomorphic development. Most of the morphometric characteristics indicate there are high geologic and geomorphological controls on river basin characteristics. The remote sensing and GIS tool have been successfully implemented throughout the study to understand the morphometric characteristics in two different morpho-climatic settings. Also, the results can be used for plan formation and sustainable management of the study area. Keywords Morphometric parameters · Morpho-climatic settings · Remote sensing and GIS · Tropical environment · Sub- humid environment · Geomorphic development Introduction geomorphological formations and hydrological characteris- tics of any basin (Morisawa 1985). The relationship between Drainage morphometry is defined as a measurement of lin- drainage morphometric parameters to its underlain geology, ear, areal and relief characteristics of any drainage basin geomorphology and hydrological characteristics is estab- (Clarke 1966). Drainage morphometry was first initiated lished through the work of different geologist and geomor - by Horton (1932). The drainage morphometric characteris- phologist (Strahler 1952; Chorley et al. 1985). It also plays tics are important to understanding the underlain structure, an important role to characterise the soil erosion, flood con- dition and geomorphological processes (Chavare and Potdar 2014). The evolutionary history of any basin can be best * Avijit Mahala understood through the implication of different relief mor - mahala.avijit@gmail.com phometric measures of drainage basin (Sharma and Sarma 1 2013). The different morphometric characteristics like lin- Center for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal ear parameters (stream order, stream number, bifurcation Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India Vol.:(0123456789) 1 3 33 Page 2 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 ratio, strength length, mean stream length), areal or basin 2014). The delineation of groundwater potential areas parameters (circularity ratio, elongation ratio, drainage through different morphometric parameters of drainage by density, drainage frequency) and relief parameters (dissec- the use of remote sensing and GIS is an established phenom- tion index, ruggedness index, hypsometric characteristics) enon. The study of Waikar and Nilawar (2014) found there are important for any river basin management. The hydro- is strong relationship among different morphometric param- logical and morphological behaviour of any basin can be eters with its groundwater potentiality. The GIS is proved best understood through the areal and relief morphometric to be a viable tool to understand the hydrological response parameters, respectively. Different fluvial processes with its behaviour of any drainage basin (Rai et al. 2017). morphometric characteristics are well established (Chor- The morphometric study of mountain–plain front rivers ley et al. 1985; Vittala et al. 2004). The geomorphological of the world has found higher stream order, high bifurcation stages of evolution with its erosional characteristics can also ratio, near-circular basin shape and relatively young geomor- be best understood through the different drainage morpho- phic stages of development (Eckbld et al. 1997; Pareta and metric parameters (Strahler 1952). It provides enormous Pareta 2011; Nongkynrih and Husain 2011). These studies idea to identify the morphological, hydrological problems also give credits to remote sensing and GIS to explore the and helps with related management procedures. This study morphometric characteristics in mountain–plain tropical reveals to understand the hydrological and morphological environment. Most of the study found mature stage geomor- characteristics from drainage morphometric parameters in phic development in plateau regions of the world through two different morpho-climatic settings. the different drainage morphometric characteristics (Vittala The remote sensing and GIS tool have been used for et al. 2004; Rudraiah et al. 2008). These studies also found drainage morphometric characteristics from long past. The remote sensing and GIS as an efficient tool to understand study of Vittala et al. (2004) has used remote sensing and the drainage morphometric characteristics in plateau–plain GIS for morphometric analysis of sub-watershed in a south semi-humid environment. The plateau land river basin also Indian plateau region. They found mature stage of geomor- has elongated characteristics (Singh and Singh 2011). This phic development in plateau environment and also give study selects Kosi river basin as a representative of moun- credits to remote sensing and GIS as an efficient tool for tain–plain tropical environment and Kangsabati river basin drainage morphometric analysis. Sreedevi et al. (2005) have as a representative of plateau–plain sub-humid environment used spatial technology to measure drainage morphometry of India. in response to structural control and groundwater delinea- The Kosi river basin which is representative of the moun- tion. They proved remote sensing and GIS could find out tain–plain tropical environment of the present study is major the best groundwater resource as well as structural controls attention from long past, especially due to its frequent chan- on drainage morphometry. Thomas et al. (2010) have suc- nel shifting and flood characteristics. Studies indicate the cessfully applied remote sensing and GIS to understand the relation between channel shifting characteristics of Kosi soil loss and hydrological makeup in a mountain environ- River to its morphometric characteristics (Singh et al. 2003). ment through the drainage morphometric characteristics. The changes of Kosi river morphometry is also related to Ansari et al. (2012) found remote sensing and GIS as an the area of wetland changes in this region (Ghosh 2009). efficient tool to understand the morphometric behaviour Most studies indicate the linear and areal morphometric of any plain topographical area. The anomalies in drain- characteristics of Kosi river basin to its irregular hydrologi- age morphometric parameters are an important indicator of cal behaviour (Jain and Sinha 2008). Studies also indicate active tectonics, frequently seen in mountain glacial–fluvial the relief morphometric characteristics behind the irregular environment. Remote sensing and GIS have proved as effi- hydrological characteristics of the Kosi river basin (Jain and cient tools to understand this phenomenon (Bali et al. 2011; Sinha 2008). Study of Sinha et al. (2008) identified the mega Pareta and Pareta 2012). Parveen et al. (2012) have found avulsion formation of Kosi River due to its morphometric remote sensing and GIS as a very helpful tool to understand characteristics. Most studies relate flood characteristics of the topographical and drainage morphometric characteristics Kosi river basin to its basin shape and size characteristics in plateau regions of the world. The results of morphometric (Shrestha et al. 2010; Chen et al. 2013). Studies also indicate analysis from remote sensing and GIS techniques are use- the multicyclic or rejuvenated stages of geomorphic devel- ful for hydrological implication of river basin and artificial opment from its relief morphometric characteristics (Chor- recharging structure (Golekar et al. 2013). The remote sens- ley et al. 1985). So, the morphometric characteristics sup- ing and GIS-induced morphometric parameters are proved port Kosi basin as a true representative of mountain–plain to be immense utility in natural resource management, water tropical river basin. The Kangsabati River basin which is conservation and river basin evaluation (Singh et al. 2013). representative of plateau–plain sub-humid river basin for The drainage morphometric characteristics can be evaluated the present study has plateau land morphometric character- through the GIS model also (Magesh and Chandrasekhar istics (Mahala 2017, 2018). Low bifurcation ratio, elongated 1 3 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 3 of 16 33 basin shape and mature stages of geomorphic development upper basin create potential source of river energy. It forms are the general morphometric characteristics of any plateau large amount of sediment deposition in Himalayan foothills river basin area (Vittala et al. 2004; Rudraiah et al. 2008). and plain areas in middle and lower reaches of basin. This Studies of Nag and Lahiri (2012) identified regular hydro- phenomenon causes major avulsion, frequent course changes logical behaviour from the linear and areal morphometric and delta formation in lower basin reaches (Castillo et al. characteristics of Kangsabati river basin region. Changes 1988). Sudden changes of slope in Himalayan foothill areas of river courses are also limited due to its low hydrologi- create large alluvial fan along the river courses. Out of total cal pressure (Pan 2013). Studies of Dutta and Roy (2012) 720 km length of Kosi River, it flows as much as 320 km in found the mature stages of geomorphological evolution after plain lands of northern Bihar after crossing Siwalik Hima- analysing the different areal and relief morphometric char - laya. Construction of embankments and dense settlement in acteristic of the basin. The morphometric changes with the o fl odplain areas increase o fl od potentiality of the basin. Kosi changes of geology and geomorphology of Kangsabati river has changed its main course as much as 100 km eastward basin is a well-established fact (Gayen et al. 2013). Kangsa- in August 2008 due to its embankments failure (Sinha et al. bati basin is a true representative plateau–plain sub-humid 2008). river basin, reflected through its morphometric characteris- The Kangsabati River basin in eastern Chotanagpur pla- tics (Gayen et al. 2013). teau of India has been selected for plateau–plain sub-humid In general, most of morphometric studies of river basin river basin (Fig. 1). The upper reaches of basin comes under are conducted to measure the morphometric values. There Pre-Cambrian granite–gneiss geological formation domi- are very few studies aims to unearth the hydrological and nated undulating dissected plateau region. Primary and morphological characteristics from its morphometric param- secondary laterite formation dominates the middle reaches. eters in different morpho-climatic settings (Raux et al. 2011; Alluvial deposition dominated plain landforms dominate Sharma and Sarma 2013). In addition to this, most of studies lower reaches of basin. Lower regimes of water and seasonal in the world are involved to understand the morphometric characteristics dominate the streamflow characteristics. characteristics in either plateau, plain or mountain area (Vit- After originating from ‘Ajodhya hill’ of eastern Chotana- tala et al. 2004; Pareta and Pareta 2011). There is a serious gpur plateau, it flows through the plateau fringe regions of lack of studies in adjoining parts of plateau–plain or moun- West Bengal in an eastward direction (Nag and Lahiri 2012). tain–plain areas which have a distinct hydrological and mor- Out of its total length of 465 km, the dissected Chotanagpur phological behaviour. Also, there are few studies to compare plateau covers around 200 km in upper and middle reaches the morphometric parameters in the above stated two dis- of basin. Studies indicate that the basin is in mature stages of tinct morpho-climatic areas. The remote sensing techniques geomorphic development (Dutta and Roy 2012; Pan 2013). along with the sufficient integration of GIS technology play an important role in unearthing the hydro-morphological characteristics from its morphometric parameters. So, in the Geohydrological framework present study, an attempt has been made to access the mor- phometric characteristics in two different morpho-climatic The origin and development of drainage system depend settings. Two main objectives of the present study are: (1) to upon the underlain geology, endogenetic and exogenetic understand the hydrological and morphological character- forces operating in the area (Reddy et al. 2004). The Kosi istics from morphometric parameters (2) compare the mor- and Kangsabati basin have varied geohydrological charac- phometric characteristics in two different morpho-climatic teristics upon which the morphometric characteristics differ settings. these two rivers. Geologically, the quaternary and recent alluvial deposits dominate in lower course of Kosi river geohydrological framework (Fig. 2). The Tertiary (Siwalik Study area system) and Mesozoic (Jurassic, Cretaceous, Triassic) rock systems spread in upper course of Kosi river system. Struc- The Kosi river basin in Himalayan foothills of India has been tures which are linear geomorphic features have given the selected as a mountain–plain humid river basin (Fig.  1). important impression in developing the drainage network of Major neo-tectonic Himalayan orogeny dominates the area. the region. The upper basin area of Kosi basin has experi- The irregular hydrological behaviour with rapid avulsion enced linear structural features in the form lower, middle and changes is the well-known identity of the basin (Sinha et al. upper Himalaya have role on morphometric and hydrological 2008). The tertiary Himalayan geological formation in upper characteristics. The Kosi basin has experienced structural reaches with sedimentary deposition in middle and lower disturbances which leads to development of well-marked reaches are the major geological characteristics of the basin. set of joints and fractures. The Kosi basin has two types High elevation, high slop and mountain landform dominated 1 3 33 Page 4 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Fig. 1 The location map of Kosi and Kangsabati River basin of aquifer-weathered aquifer in lower course and fractured alluvial plain and fractured aquifer in upper basin granite aquifer in upper course of basin. gneiss geological formation. The oldest rock system comprising of granite, granite gneiss and mica schist from the basement rock system of Kangsabati river basin (Fig. 2). The upper course of Kang- Materials and methods sabati basin covers by unclassified crystalline mainly gneiss, granite gneiss and mica schist. The laterite and meta-vol- The different indicators of drainage network (drainage mor - canic rock encountered in middle basin and lower basin cov- phometry) give inference about the hydrological and rock ers by alluvium and recent alluvial deposits. The Kangsabati formation characteristics of the basin (Singh et al. 2013). basin has experienced structural disturbances in the forms The hydrological observations along with morphometric of lineaments and joints. The main fractures/joints are in the characteristics give useful clues about geological forma- direction of NE to SW. Like Kosi basin, Kangsabati basin tions of the basin. Since the basic objective of the paper is has also experienced weathered aquifer in lower course of to access the hydrological and morphological characteristics 1 3 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 5 of 16 33 Fig. 2 Geological map of River basin a Kosi and b Kangsabati of river basin from different morphometric parameters in mosaic tools of ERDAS-IMAGINE 14 have been used for two different morpho-climatic settings, several morphomet- mosaicking and clipping of required area for two different ric parameters (linear, areal, relief) need to calculate and basins. The consecutive topographical sheet of ‘Survey of interpret (Table 1) (Fig. 2). Like, linear aspect (stream order, India’ (SOI) has been georeferenced and used to cross verify bifurcation ratio, mean bifurcation ratio, stream length, mean the drainage system extracted from ASTER GDEM 30 m stream length, stream length ratio), areal aspect (stream data. The different morphometric parameters of linear, relief frequency, drainage density, texture ratio, form factor, cir- and areal aspects have been calculated through the use of cularity ratio, elongation ratio) and relief aspect (relative ASTER GDEM 30 m data with ArcGIS 10.1. relief, relief ratio, dissection index, ruggedness index). The different morphometric parameters have been successfully Extraction of Kosi and Kangsabati River watershed evaluated by remote sensing and GIS (Singh et al. 2013). Georeferenced with precisely orthorectified Global Digital The river basin of Kosi and Kangsabati has been automati- Elevation Model (GDEM) data of ‘Advanced Spaceborne cally extracted from the ASTER DEM (30 m) through the Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer’ (ASTER pour point identification with the various geoprocessing tool 30 m) has been used for present study. The data have been of Arc GIS 10.1. The pour point is the user-defined cell downloaded from United State Geological Survey (USGS) of highest flow accumulation within DEM. The extracted website. GDEM of ASTER has following parameters: drainage basin has been verified through SOI Topo sheet (1: 50,000). Datum name: WGS 84. Spheroid name: WGS 84. Calculation of drainage morphometry Projection type: Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM). The different drainage morphometric parameters (linear, Both the study area falls under UTM zone of 44. The areal, relief) have been extracted and calculated through a whole area of two basins covers more than two scenes. The combination of geoprocessing tools available in Arc GIS 1 3 33 Page 6 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 1 3 Table 1 Morphometric parameters of a river basin Morphometric aspects Parameters Formulae Description References Linear aspect Stream order (u) Hierarchical rank u has been calculated through the use of Strahler formula Strahler (1964) in Arc GIS 10.1 Stream no. (N ) N = number of streams of a particular order ‘u’ N has been calculated for each order (u) through the use of Strahler (1964) u u Strahler formula in ArcGIS 10.1 Bifurcation ratio (R ) R = (N /N + 1); where, N = number of streams of a R has been calculated as the ratio of total number of Schumm (1956) b b u u u b particular order ‘u’, N + 1 = Number of streams of next streams in a given order to its next higher order higher order ‘u + 1’ Mean bifurcation ratio (R ) R = mean of bifurcation ratios of all orders R has been calculated as the mean of R of all order Schumm (1956) bm bm bm b Stream length (L ) L = total length of streams (km) of a particular order ‘u’ L has been calculated through the use of Horton formula Horton (1945) u u u in ArcGIS 10.1 Mean stream length (L ) L = L /N ; where, L = total length of streams (km) of a L has been calculated as the ratio of total length of Horton (1945) um um u u u um particular order ‘u’, N = Total number of streams of a streams of each order (L ) to its total number of streams u u particular order ‘u’ (N ) Stream length ratio (R ) R = L /L + 1; where, L = mean stream length of a R has been calculated as the ratio of L in a giver order to Horton (1945) l l um um u l um particular order ‘u’, L + 1 = mean stream length of next its next higher order higher order ‘u + 1’ 2 2 Areal aspect Form factor (F ) F = A/L ; where, A = area of the basin (km ), L = basin F has been calculated as the ratio between the basin area Horton (1945) f f f length (km) to the square of basin length 2 2 Circularity ratio (R ) R = 4πA/P ; where, A = area of the basin (km ), P = outer R has been calculated as the area of the basin to the area Strahler (1964) c c c boundary of a drainage basin (km) of circle having the same circumference as the perimeter of the basin Elongation ratio (R ) R = P/πL; P = outer boundary of a drainage basin (km), R has been calculated as the ratio of diameter of a circle Strahler (1964) e e e L = basin length (km) which have same area as that of basin to the total length of basin Constant of channel mainte- CCM = 1/D ; where, D = drainage density CCM has been calculated with the reciprocal of drainage Strahler (1964) d d nance (CCM) density Stream frequency (F ) F = N/A; where, N = total number of streams of a given F has been calculated as the ratio of number of streams Horton (1945) s s s basin, A = total area of basin (km ) per unit area of basin Drainage Density (D ) D = L/A; where, L = length of streams (km), A = Basin D has been calculated as the length of stream channel per Horton (1945) d d d area (km ). unit area of basin Texture ratio (R ) R = D  * F , where, D = drainage density (km/km ), R has been calculated as the product of drainage density Smith (1950) t t d s d t F = stream frequency (numbers/km ) and stream frequency Relief aspect Relative relief (H) H = R − r, where, R = highest relief, r = lowest relief H has been calculated after maximum vertical range Schumm (1956) between highest and lowest point of any basin Relief ratio (R ) R = (H/L max); where, H = relative relief (m), L = length of R has been calculated after dividing the relative relief to Schumm (1956) r r r basin (m) the total length of basin Dissection index (D ) D = H/R; H = relative relief (m), R = absolute relief (m) D has been calculated as the ratio between relative relief to Schumm (1956) i i i the absolute relief in per unit area of basin Ruggedness index (R ) R = D  * H/1000; where, D = drainage density, H = rela- R has been calculated as the product of drainage density Schumm (1956) i i d d i tive relief and relative relief Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 7 of 16 33 10.1. First of all, the drainage network has been extracted forms where two 1st-order streams join. A 3rd-order stream through the Strahler’s formula where segments with no forms when two 2nd-order streams join and so on. The main tributaries identified as a first-order stream. When the two channel through which most of water discharged marked 1st-order stream joins form a 2nd-order stream and so on. as highest order stream of any particular drainage basin. The different aspects of drainage morphometry like bifurca- This stream order depends on basin shape, size and relief tion ratio (R ), mean bifurcation ratio (R ), mean stream characteristics of such basin (Haghipour and Burg 2014). b bm length (L ), stream length ratio (R ), form factor (F ), cir- Most studies indicate the increasing order of streams in the um l f cularity ratio (R ), stream frequency (F ), drainage density mountain–plain humid environment than plateau–plain sub- c s (D ), dissection index (D ), ruggedness index (R ) have been humid environment (Wakode et al. 2013). The total number d i i calculated through the standard formula given in Table 1. of streams of Kosi basin are 10,591 of which 5315 (50.2%), The slope characteristics also derived through the spatial 2449 (23.1%), 1338 (12.6%), 768 (7.8%), 551 (5.2%), 71 analysis tool available in Arc GIS 10.1. (0.7%) and 99 (0.9%) streams belongs to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th order, respectively (Table 2) (Fig. 3). Lower order streams are in higher number due to its upper mountain Results and discussion course. Also, higher number of streams in upper reaches indicates the occurrence of young topography adjacent to the Drainage morphometric parameters are essential to under- stream concerned. The sudden decrease in 3rd and 4th order stand the hydrological and morphological characteristics of streams indicates its major morphological change. Higher of any basin (Thomas et al. 2010; Castillo et al. 1988). It number of streams throughout the different orders indicates is also useful to understand the structural controls of any its high erosion characteristics. It is proved from high sedi- basin (Sharma and Sarma 2013). The hydro-sedimentary ment load of Kosi river basin. The high number of lower flow regimes are also determined by basin characteristics order streams (1st, 2nd and 3rd order) increase the amount (Raux et al. 2011). The present study was conducted with the of water received which ultimately creates huge water flux in aim of hydrological and morphological understanding from lower reaches of basin, whereas Kangsabati basin has total different morphometric parameters in two different morpho- 1216 number of streams of which 609 (50.1%), 279 (22.9%), climatic settings. The Kosi basin which is representative of 152 (12.5%), 68 (5.6%), 25 (2.1%) and 83 (6.8%) number the mountain–plain humid environment has tertiary Hima- of streams belongs to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th order, layan geology in upper reaches, and recent sediment depos- respectively (Table 2) (Fig. 3). The consistent decrease in ited Gangetic plain areas in lower reaches of basin. Kosi is number of streams in relation to stream order (N ) (except highly notorious due to its high sediment load and migra- 5th order) throughout the basin indicates the dominance of tory trends with antecedent river characteristics. Failure of erosional landform throughout the basin. The lower number Kosi embankment and changes in avulsion characteristics of streams in 1st, 2nd and 3rd order indicates its mature are major concerns of recent past. This phenomenon can be topography adjacent to the stream concerned. Higher order interpreted through the local geological adjustment, plate streams (4th, 5th, 6th order) are less in number due to its motions, geotectonic, etc., (Arogyaswamy 1971; Agarwal alluvial deposited plain course. The lower number of streams and Bho 1992) whereas Kangsabati river basin which is in upper reaches and consistent number of streams (except representative of plateau–plain sub-humid environment falls 5th order) throughout the basin indicates its lower water under Archaean Gneiss and Schist geological formations in regimes and water stress condition. upper reaches. The middle and lower reaches are dominated Bifurcation ratio (R ) expresses the ratio of number of by laterite and alluvial deposition, respectively. As Kangsa- streams of a given order (u) to its next higher order (u + 1) bati flows through the eastern Chotanagpur plateau which (Horton 1945). Strahler (1952) indicates that without strong is sub-humid characteristics, it remains dry in most of the controls of geological formation, the R shows only small times (Raux et al. 2011). The different hydrological and variation in different regions. It is considered an important morphological characteristics about the different morpho- parameter, denoting the water carrying capacity and related metric parameters have discussed below- flood potentiality of any basin. The value normally ranges from 2 to 5 (Joji et al. 2013). Studies identified high R val- Linear aspects of River basin morphometry ues in mountain–plain areas than plateau–plain fringe areas of tropical environment due to its young morphological Stream order (N ) treated as the first step of drainage analysis adjustment and high water pressure (Kim and Jung 2015). based on the hierarchical ranking of streams. Strahler (1964) The bifurcation ratio for different order of streams in Kosi invented ordering method has been selected for the present basin is 2.17 for 1st to 2nd, 1.83 for 2nd to 3rd, 1.74 for 3rd study. According to Strahler (1964), the smallest fingerprint to 4th, 1.39 for 4th to 6th, 7.76 for 5th to 6th, 0.71 for 6th to tributaries numbered as 1st order. The 2nd order of stream 7th, respectively (Table 2). The values of R in Kosi basin 1 3 33 Page 8 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 are indicative of inconsistency in morphological adjustment (as the R values are not consistent throughout the differ - ent order). The irregularities are due to strong geological and lithological controls of the basin. Also, high bifurca- tion ratio in higher order streams indicates large amount of water received in upper basin area. But low R and related lower number streams in lower reaches increase water pres- sure. The frequent flood characteristics of Kosi river support this phenomenon, whereas the R values of Kangsabati river basin are 2.18 for 1st to 2nd, 1.83 for 2nd to 3rd, 2.23 for 3rd to 4th, 1.30 for 4th to 5th and 0.30 for 5th to 6th order streams (Table 2). The consistency of R values throughout the basin and low average bifurcation ratio is indicative of mature geomorphological adjustment. Low mean R is also indicative of water stress condition for river basin. A con- stant decrease of R throughout the different stream order as well as low mean R (1.56) indicates low flood potentiality for the basin. Stream length (L ) is calculated according to law pro- posed by Horton (1945). It indicates the successive stage of stream segment development (Castillo et al. 1988). A direct geomorphic and hydrological sequence can approxi- mate from different order stream lengths. Generally, the total length of streams is maximum in 1st order, and L decreases as stream order increases. The irregularities in this trend are indicative of discrepancies in lithology. Studies suggest high stream length in mountain–plain front than plateau–plain front river basin (Vittala et al. 2004; Sreedevi et al. 2005). The stream length for different orders of the Kosi basin in 1st (12,396 km), 2nd (6595 km), 3rd (3463 km), 4th (1756 km), 5th (1327  km), 6th (162  km), and 7th order (216  km) (Table 2). The irregularities of stream length between 6th and 7th order indicates geological and morphological control on river basin. Irregularities are also indicative of lithologi- cal inconsistency of drainage basin whereas the L values of plateau–plain front Kangsabati basin in 1st (1559 km), 2nd (790 km), 3rd (350 km), 4th (154 km), 5th (62 km) and 6th (194 km) (Table 2). The low length of streams in upper reaches and consistency of stream length throughout the basin is indicative of mature to old geological formation and sufficient morphological adjustment throughout the basin. Mean stream length (L ) is the characteristics prop- sm erty of drainage network and associated surface according to Strahler (Strahler 1964). It is an important dimension- less morphometric characteristic calculated by dividing the total length of streams of a given order (u) to the total number of streams (N ) of such order. In general, the ratio of L increases with increasing order of streams (Shrestha sm et al. 2010). Most of the studies indicate low L value in sm mountain environment than plateau or plain morphology (Rai et al. 2017). The mean L ratio of Kosi basin in 1st sm (2.33 km), 2nd (2.69 km), 3rd (2.59 km), 4th (2.29 km), 5th (2.41 km), 6th (2.28 km) and for 7th order (2.18 km) 1 3 Table 2 Linear morphometric aspects of river basins Morphometric parameters Kangsabati Basin Kosi Basin Stream order (u) I II III IV V VI I II III IV V VI VII Stream no (N ) (%) 609 (50.1) 279 (22.9) 152 (12.5) 68 (5.6) 25 (2.1) 83 (6.8) 5315 (50.2) 2449 (23.1) 1338 (12.6) 768 (7.3) 551 (5.2) 71 (0.7) 99 (0.9) Bifurcation ratio (R ) – 2.18 1.83 2.23 1.30 0.30 – 2.17 1.83 1.74 1.39 7.76 0.71 Mean bifurcation ratio (R ) 1.56 2.6 bm Stream length (L ) in km 1559 790 350 154 62 194 12,396 6595 3463 1756 1327 162 216 Mean stream length (L ) 2.55 2.83 2.30 2.26 2.48 2.33 2.33 2.69 2.59 2.29 2.41 2.28 2.18 um Stream length ratio (R ) – 0.90 1.23 1.01 0.91 1.06 – 0.86 1.04 1.13 0.95 1.06 1.04 l Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 9 of 16 33 Fig. 3 Flow diagram of method- DEM Processing ology for River basin morpho- metric analysis Fill sinks Flow direction Flow accumulation Pour point identification Watershed extraction Kosi BasinKangsabati Basin Linear Aspect Areal Aspect Relief Aspect Stream Order (u) Form Factor (Ff) Relative Relief (H) Stream No. (Nu) Circularity Ratio (Rc) Relief Ratio (Rr) Bifurcation Ratio (Rb) Elongation Ratio (Re) Dissection Index (Di) Mean Bifurcation RatioConstant of channel Ruggedness Index (Ri) (Rbm) maintenance (CCM) Stream Length (Lu) Stream Frequency (Fs) Mean Stream Length Drainage Density (Dd) (Lum) Texture ratio (Rt) Stream Length Ratio (Rl) (Table 2). Low L values in the upper reaches of the Kosi Stream length ratio (R ) is the ratio between mean sm l basin indicate young morphological development and high stream lengths of one order to the next higher order. erosion potentiality. The mean stream length for higher Generally, it tends to be similar throughout the different order, e.g. 2nd order and above (except 4th and 6th order), orders. Mean stream length segment of each successive is greater for Kosi basin is due to the fact that higher order order of basin tends to direct geometric series with stream streams completed their channel lengthening, whereas length increasing towards higher order according to Hor- 1st order streams need times for extending its length. The ton (Horton 1945). Studies suggest mountain–plain front fact indicates young stage of geomorphic development of river basin have irregular tendency of stream-length ratio Kosi basin. The anomalies in L throughout the different than regular plateau fringe river basin (Magesh and Chan- sm orders suggesting slope changes and changes in the geo- drasekhar 2014). The stream length ratio of Kosi basin logical set up which in turn denotes abrupt changes in flow starts with 0.86 for 1st to 2nd order, 1.04 for 2nd to 3rd characteristics. This has also brought discrepancies of sur- order, 1.13 for 3rd to 4th order, 0.95 for 4th to 5th order, face flow discharge and sedimentation. The mean stream 1.06 for 5th to 6th order and 1.04 for 6th to 7th order length for Kangsabati basin in 1st (2.55 km), 2nd (2.88 km), (Table 2). The changes in stream length ratio denote that 3rd (2.26 km), 4th (2.48 km), 5th (2.33 km), respectively the area is in early stage of geomorphic development, and (Table 2). The low value of L for higher order streams, the area has the high potentiality of frequent changes in sm i.e. 2.26 km for 3rd order or 2.33 km for 5th order, is due to near future. This is also indicative of irregular hydrologi- the fact that the streams fall within these order has stopped cal behaviour, whereas the R values Kangsabati basin is their channel lengthening much before than the lower order 0.90 for 1st to 2nd, 1.23 for 2nd to 3rd, 1.01 for 3rd to streams. Relatively higher L values (1st and 2nd order) in 4th, 0.91 for 4th to 5th and 1.06 for 5th to 6th order of sm upper reaches of Kangsabati are indicative of low erosion streams, respectively. The R value for each order of Kang- potentiality which in turn denotes old erosional landform sabati basin is higher than Kosi basin. This is indicative development. The consistency of L values throughout the of younger stage of geomorphic development for Kosi sm basin and higher average L values is indicative of mature basin than Kangsabati basin. The R of Kangsabati basin sm l geomorphological adjustment and low flood regimes. is indicative of late young stage of geomorphic develop- ment as well as low water regimes. The low difference 1 3 33 Page 10 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 of R values in 1st to 2nd order for Kosi and Kangsabati The capability of any basin to drain is depended upon basin is due to their geomorphic controls. In other words, the drainage density of such area. Drainage density itself like Kosi basin, Kangsabati basin faces more or less same depends upon underlain geology, relief, geomorphology, cli- geomorphic constraints in channel lengthening in its upper mate, vegetation, etc. of that basin. The amount and types order (1st and 2nd order). of precipitation determined D value directly. Studies sug- gest high drainage density in mountain environment due to Areal aspects of River basin morphometry impermeable surface materials, sparse vegetation and high relief, whereas plateau environment bears low D due to Stream frequency (S ) is the total number of stream segments high infiltration and low relief (Magesh and Chandrasekhar irrespective of the order in per unit area (Horton 1945). It 2014; Parveen et al. 2012). The overall drainage density of may also define as the ratio between the total number of Kosi river basin is 0.67 (km/km ) (Table 3). It shows a direct stream segment cumulative of all orders and the basin relationship between drainage frequency and drainage den- area. It may be possible to have different stream frequency, sity. High drainage density in upper reaches of Kosi basin through the basin has same drainage density. Stream fre- indicates less permeable rock in bed surface, high slope and quency is related to permeability, infiltration capacity and high water flow regimes (Fig.  4). Very low D is observed relief of the basin. It provides drainage basin response to in lower reaches plain areas of the basin due to low relief runoff processes. Stream frequency depends on the rainfall, and high permeability. Thus, higher runoff with greater flow relief, initial resistivity of rocks as well as drainage density velocity results in potentiality of downstream flooding in the of the basin. The lower value of S indicates poor drainage basin, whereas for Kangsabati basin, the overall D is 0.43, f d network (Thomas et al. 2010). High slope and greater rainfall which is very low (Fig. 4) (Table 3). Low D is indicative increase stream frequency (S ) in mountain areas, whereas of low relief, low slope, high infiltration capacity and low low permeability and less available surface flow decrease the water regimes throughout the basin. S value in plateau environment (Bali et al. 2011). Stream Texture ratio (R ) is the product of stream frequency and f t frequency of mountain–plain front Kosi river basin is 0.27 drainage density (Horton 1945). R can also be defined as the (number/km ), which can categorise as a moderate stream ratio between total numbers of stream segments to the perim- frequency (Table 3). The higher S values in upper reaches eter of the basin. Infiltration capacity is the single important indicate high slope and lower permeability. But the plain factor influencing texture ratio recognised by Horton. It is course of lower basin area shows low S due to less avail- also an important fluvial parameter which denotes the rela- able relief, the plateau–plain front Kangsabati basin shows tive spacing of drainage network of any basin. R depends very low S as it is 0.17 (number/km ). The low S value of upon numbers of natural factors like the amount of rainfall, f f Kangsabati river basin is indicative of lower permeability of density of vegetation, soil types, infiltration capacity, stages rock, less relief and low slope in plateau environment. Also of geomorphic development and relief (Smith 1950). Col- semi-humid environment, low relative relief helps for lower lectively drainage density and drainage frequency can be S in Kangsabati basin. called drainage texture. The R values of < 2 indicate very f t Drainage density (D ) is the expression of the closeness coarse, 2–4 coarse, 4–6 moderate, 6–8 fine, > 8 very fine of spacing of channel within a basin as per Horton (1945). drainage texture (Smith 1950). The texture ratio of moun- As it provides a numerical measurement of runoff potenti- tain–plain environment Kosi basin is 7.60, which indicates ality and landscape dissection, D is the important indica- coarse drainage texture (Table 3). The values indicate low tor of landform element. D measures as the ratio of the infiltration capacity, less permeability of rock and high relief total length of streams irrespective of stream order to the and sparse vegetation. The R values of Kosi basin are also per unit area of the basin. It ranges from 0.55 to 2.09 km/ indicative of high water regimes, whereas the R of Kangsa- km in humid region (Joji et al. 2013). D considers as an bati basin is very low as 1.65 (Table 3). The value indicates important parameter determining the travel time of water. low rainfall, high infiltration, low relief in Kangsabati basin. Form factor (F ) is the ratio of the area of the basin to the square of basin length (Horton 1932). The value of F is Table 3 Areal morphometric aspects of river basins always less than 0.7854 (for a perfectly circular basin) (Bali et al. 2011). Smaller the value of F , more elongated is the Relief aspect Kosi Basin Kangsabati Basin basin. The value ‘0’ indicates elongated characteristics of Absolute relief (R) 3597 659 basin and ‘1’ indicates near-circular characteristics of basin Relative relief (H) 3588 657 with high peak flow. It indicates the flow characteristics of a Relief ratio (R ) 0.012 0.0028 basin (Castillo et al. 1988). Higher the value of F , more cir- Dissection index (D ) 0.990 0.996 cular is the basin which indicates high peak flow in shorter Ruggedness index (R ) 2.40 0.282 duration, whereas lower the value of F , more elongated is 1 3 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 11 of 16 33 Fig. 4 Linear aspects of River basin morphometry a Kosi and b Kangsabati the basin which indicates low peak flow with longer duration plateau–plain front river basin of sub-humid environment (Bali et al. 2011). Flood o fl ws of elongated basin can be eas - (Chen et  al. 2013). It also helps to give the idea about ily managed than that of circular basin. Mountain–plain front hydrological character of a drainage basin. The elongated river basin tends to form circular basin than plateau–plain basin has a low peak discharge. The R value of the Kosi front river basin. The F value of Kosi basin is 0.45, which basin is 1.52, which denotes perfect circular characteris- indicates the basin is near-circular (Table 3). It also indicates tics of the basin (Table 3) (Fig. 1). The R values of Kosi higher peak flow in limited times. This phenomenon has indicate its high flood characteristics and high peak flow. been proved by its recent embankment failure and frequent The R value of Kangsabati basin is 1.00, which indicates flood characteristics (Sinha et al. 2008). Large basin area its elongated characteristics (Table 3, Fig. 1). This value with near-circular shape helps Kosi to become an impor- is indicative of lower flood regimes and mature geomor - tant flood-prone basin in India (Sinha 2009), whereas the F phological adjustment for Kangsabati basin. value of plateau–plain front Kangsabati basin is 0.12. It indi- Circularity ratio (R ) is defined as the ratio between the cates its elongated shape with less peak flow. Comparatively area of the basin to the area of a circle having the same small basin area and elongated shape of Kangsabati basin perimeter (Strahler 1964). Value of R varies from ‘0’ (mini- indicate lower water regimes of Kangsabati river basin. This mum circularity) to ‘1’ (Maximum circularity). Cr values phenomenon has been supported as the basin comes under depend upon stream frequency, drainage density, climate, semi-humid areas of tropical India. geological structure, slope, relief, etc. of any basin. The Elongation ratio (R ) is the ratio of the diameter of a higher circular basin will affect by peak discharge in high circle having the same area as of basin to the maximum rainfall season. It is an indicative value determined the geo- basin length (Schumm 1956). It is also a significant index morphological stages of development of any basin. The high, of basin shape (Gayen et al. 2013). The value of R var- medium and low value of R is indicative of old, mature e c ies from ‘0’ (maximum elongated) to near ‘1’ (maximum and young stages of geomorphological adjustment of any circularity). The R values of near ‘1’ indicate that there basin. Generally, the mountain–plain front river basin of are less geomorphological controls on river basin (Strahler world tends to form circular basin due to its young morpho- 1964). The mountain–plateau front humid environment logical adjustment, whereas plateau–plain front river basin river basin tends to form less elongated river basin than forms elongated basin in response to mature morphological 1 3 33 Page 12 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 adjustment (Vittala et al. 2004; Thomas et al. 2010). The R Table 4 Relief morphometric aspects of River basins value of the Kosi basin is 0.25, which indicates its near-cir- Areal aspect Kosi Basin Kangsa- cular characteristics (Table 3). It also indicates neo-tectonic bati Basin upliftment and high peak flood runoff in monsoon season. Basin perimeter (P) (km) 1392 736 The R value for plateau–plain front Kangsabati basin is Basin area (A) (km ) 38,689 7073 0.16, which indicates elongated characteristics. It also refers Form factor (F ) 0.45 0.12 to mature geomorphological adjustment and less peak flow Circularity ratio (R ) 0.26 0.16 characteristics. Elongation ratio (R ) 1.52 1.00 Constant of channel maintenance (CCM) is defined as the Compactness constant (C ) 2.00 2.46 reciprocal of drainage density as property to define overland Constant of channel maintenance 1.49 2.27 flow (Schumm 1956). Indirectly, it can be expressed as a (CCM) required minimum area for the maintenance and develop- Stream frequency (S ) 0.27 0.17 ment of a channel (Dutta and Roy 2012). CCM is expressed Drainage density (D ) 0.67 0.43 in km /km. The lower value of CCM indicates higher flood Texture ratio (R ) 7.60 1.65 potentiality and young geomorphological adjustment. Moun- tain environment generally has low CCM values due to lower infiltration of bare soil and high overland flow. On the Relief ratio (R ) denotes the ratio between total reliefs to other hand, plateau–plain environment tends to high CCM value due to low drainage density and high infiltration in the length of the principal drainage line (Lindsay and Seibert 2013). The R value depends upon different factors of areal comparison to plateau–plain environment. The CCM value of the Kosi basin is 1.49 (Table 3). It indicates less channel and relief characteristics of basin. The high basin relief, cir- cular basin shape, small basin area increase the R value of availability to drain out the excess amount of water and low infiltration capacity of soil. All these ultimately indicates any basin. It indicates the overall steepness of the drainage basin and related degradation processes (Schumm 1956). high flood potentiality. The CCM value for Kangsabati basin is 2.27, which indicates high inl fi tration capacity, low drain - The R values generally higher in mountain environment than plateau river basin (Thomas et al. 2010). The R value age density and mature geomorphological adjustment. of Kosi basin is 0.012, which falls under moderate category (Table 4). Though Kosi River has originated from Himala- Relief aspects of River basin morphometry yan Mountain, most of basin area falls under lower relief plain area causes low R value. This value also indicative of Basin relief (R, H) includes absolute relief (R) and relative relief (H). The maximum relief of any basin and the maxi- high overland flow. The R value for Kangsabati basin is as low as 0.0028. This very low R value of Kangsabati basin is mum altitudinal difference is termed as absolute and relative relief, respectively. These are general morphometric param- indicative of elongated basin shape, low basin relief as well as maximum denudation stages of geomorphic evolution. eters used to understand the morphological characteristics of basin (Raux et al. 2011). Basin relief depends upon the Dissection index (D ) is defined as the ratio between rela- tive reliefs to its absolute relief. It indicates the vertical ero- underlain geology, geomorphology and drainage character- istics of the region. It is the best indicator of erosional stages sion and dissected characteristics of a basin (Haghipour and Burg 2014). The value of D ranges between ‘0’ (absence of of any river basin. Normally, the mountain–plain front river basin has higher basin relief than plateau–plain front river vertical dissection) to ‘1’ (Vertical areas). D values near to ‘0’ indicate maximum denudation stages of evolution and basin (Thomas et al. 2010). The highest relief of Kosi basin is 3597 m., which found near upper reaches of Himalayan near ‘1’ indicates minimum denudation stages of geomor- phic evolution. Mountain basins have relatively higher D peak (Table 4). The relative relief is 3588 m., which seems very high for erosional activity. Basin relief characteristics values in comparison to plateau–plain river basin (Waikar and Nilawar 2014). The D value of Kosi basin is 0.99, which of Kosi basin are indicative of young stages of geomorphic development and huge potentiality for further erosion. The indicate its young or rejuvenated stage of geomorphic devel- opment and minimum denudation stage (Table 4). It is also abrupt changes of basin relief in mountain–plain conjunction of Kosi river basin are indicative of prone to geomorpho- indicative of its further potentiality of erosion. Though the D value of Kangsabati basin shows near ‘0.9’, Kangsabati logical hazards. On the other hand, the R and H value for Kangsabati is as low as 659 and 657, respectively. The basin has mature denudation stages of evolution. Ruggedness index (R ) is defined as the product of drain- relief characteristics of Kangsabati basin are indicative of dissected erosional landform and mature stages of geomor- age density and relative relief. The high value of R occurs when both drainage density and relative relief are high phological evolution (Parveen et al. 2012; Rai et al. 2017). (Ansari et al. 2012). The ruggedness index depends upon 1 3 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 13 of 16 33 underlain geology, geomorphology, slope, steepness, vegeta- consequent embankments failure, whereas Kangsabati River tion cover, climate, etc. of that region. The higher R value which flows through the eroded eastern Chotanagpur plateau of any area indicates that the area is in primary stage of indicates constant channel gradient decline throughout its geomorphic development or denudation activity. Studies main course. suggest mountain environment basin have higher R than Slope (Ɵ) is an important morphometric parameter con- plateau river basin (Parveen et al. 2012). The high value of trolled by morpho-climatic processes of any area underlain R (2.40) for Kosi basin indicates its youthful or rejuvenated by varying resistance of rock surface. As slope determines stage of geomorphic development (Table 4). The R value of the infiltration vs runoff relation, it is important to under - Kangsabati is as low as 0.282. Very low R value of Kangsa- stand the nature of slope in any region. Infiltration capacity bati river basin is indicative of mature and maximum denu- is inversely related to the slope. The very high slope (> 40°) dation stages of erosion. This phenomenon is supported by dominated upper reaches of Kosi basin is the indication of its granite–gneiss and schist geology, rolling plateau fringe low infiltration related high drainage density and frequency landform characteristics. (Figs. 5, 6) (Table 4). It also indicates primary stages of geo- Channel gradient ratio can be defined as changes in morphic evolution. But slope dramatically decreases as Kosi vertical inclination in per unit area changes of horizontal enters in foothill plain areas. This typical slope characteristic distance. It is an indication of the stages of geomorphic developed intense flood characteristics as well as specific evolution as well as its potentiality for further erosion. The geomorphic landforms like alluvial fan, etc., whereas slope high channel gradient is seen in the mountainous course of Kangsabati river basin is low (< 10°) throughout the of river and least in plain course of river (Sreedevi et al. basin, indicates high infiltration and low drainage density 2005). The Kosi River is almost vertical from source region characteristics (Figs. 5, 6) (Table 4). This is also indicative up to Himalayan foothill areas in its upper reaches (Fig. 1), of its mature topographical development. whereas, it is near horizontal from Himalayan foothills up to river mouth in its plain course. Such types of gradient characteristics have the potentiality of frequent flooding and Fig. 5 Drainage density characteristics of River basins a Kosi and b Kangsabati 1 3 33 Page 14 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Fig. 6 Slope characteristics of River basins a Kosi and b Kangsabati susceptible to flooding. The constant decline of R values Conclusion with increasing stream order is characteristics of sub-humid region of tropical environment. The low mean value of R is The different morphometric parameters of a basin are the also indicative of low flood susceptible water stress region. best representative of underlain geology, geomorphology, Medium mean stream length and regular changes of stream relief, slope, climate as well as hydrological dynamics. The length ratio are also indicative of mature stages of geomor- parameter also indicates stages of geomorphic evolution of phic development in Kosi river basin. The areal morpho- any area. Morphometry plays an important role in basin- metric characteristics of Kosi basin indicate large amount of level construction and flood control planning. The present water discharge and peak flow in less available time. These study tries to unearth the morphological and hydrological are also indicative of younger stages of geomorphic develop- characteristics from different morphometric parameters as ment in the mountain–plain environment, whereas the areal well as changes of morphometric parameters in different morphometric characteristics of plateau fringe Kangsabati morpho-climatic settings. The Kosi basin which is repre- basin indicates low overland flow and low flood regimes. sentative of the mountain–plain humid tropical environment This is also evidence of its mature geomorphic development. has highest number stream order (up to VIIth order) related Old geomorphic development, highly dissected topography with large amount of water discharge and low-velocity flow. and pre-Cambrian geological formation is also get justified It indicates the basin is highly susceptible to flooding. Rapid by its areal morphometric characteristics. The relief charac- decline of bifurcation ratio with increasing order as well as teristics of Kosi basin supports young stages of geomorphic irregular nature of R values bear the indication of geological development and rejuvenated morphological characteristics unconformity and high susceptibility to flooding. The irregu- in mountain–plain front. The geomorphic and hydrological lar changes of stream length of Kosi River basin throughout instability is more common in high relief areas, whereas the different order indicate the younger or rejuvenated stage relief morphometric characteristics of Kangsabati river basin of river basin development, whereas Kangsabati basin which indicate late mature stages of geomorphic development and is representative of the plateau–plain sub-humid tropical maximum denuded landform cover. environment has lower number of stream order indicates low 1 3 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 15 of 16 33 Chen NS, Hu GS, Deng W, Khanal N, Zhu YH, Han D (2013) On the After crosschecking the results from field verification and water hazards in the trans-boundary Kosi River basin. Nat Hazards related literature, the study concludes that drainage morpho- Earth Syst Sci 13:795–808 metric parameters have the huge potentiality to unveil the Chorley RJ, Schumm SA, Sugden DE (1985) Geomorphology. hydro-morphological characteristics of any river basin. The Methuen and Co., Ltd., London Clarke JJ (1966) Morphometry from map. Essays in geomorphology. study concludes that morphometric characteristics of any Elsevier, New York, pp 235–274 region can successfully reveal the hydrological and morpho- Dutta S, Roy S (2012) Determination of erosion surfaces and stages of logical characteristics. There is sufficient difference among evolution of Sangra drainage basin in Giridih district, Jharkhand, different morphometric parameters in different morpho-cli- India. Int J Geomat Geosci 3(1):63–73 Eckbld JW, Peterson NL, Ostile K (1997) The morphometry, benthos matic regions. In other words, drainage morphometry has and sedimentation rates of a floodplain lake in pool of the Upper the sufficient ability to differentiate morpho-climatic areas Mississippi River. Am Midl Nat 97(2):433–443 of the world through its different values. Remote sensing and Gayen S, Bhunia GS, Shit PK (2013) Morphometric analysis of Kang- GIS can successfully use for accessing the drainage morpho- sabati–Dwarakeshwar interfluves area in West Bengal, India using ASTER DEM and GIS techniques. Geol Geosci 2(4):1–10 metric characteristics. The results can be used for sufficient Ghosh AK (2009) Changing geomorphology of the Kosi River system hydrological and morphological planning for such areas. in the Indian subcontinent. Association of American Geographers, Washington Acknowledgements The author is currently working under the PhD Golekar RB, Baride MV, Patil SN (2013) Morphometric analysis and programme of Jawaharlal Nehru University. The work has been con- hydrogeological implication: Anjani and Jhiri river basin Maha- ducted under NET-JRF program of University Grants Commission rashtra, India. Arch Appl Sci Res 5(2):33–41 (UGC). The author is also thankful to his supervisor Dr. Padmini Haghipour N, Burg JP (2014) Geomorphological analysis of the Pani (Associate Professor, CSRD, JNU) for continuous guidance and drainage system on the growing Makran accretionary wedge. support. Geomorphology 209:111–132 Horton RE (1932) Drainage basin characteristics, 2nd edn. ransac- tions, American Geophysical Union, New York Compliance with ethical standards Horton RE (1945) Erosional development of streams and their drain- age basins: hydro physical approach to quantitative morphology. Conflict of interest The corresponding author states that there is no Bull Geol Soc Am 56:275–370 conflict of interest. Jain V, Sinha R (2008) Geomorphological manifestations of the flood hazard: a remote sensing based approach. 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Int J function and challenges in flood control: a case study of the Multidiscip Curr Res 2:179–184 Kosi flood 2008. Econ Polit Wkly 14(2):45–53 Wakode HB, Dutta D, Desai VR, Baier K, Azzam R (2013) Morpho- Singh V, Singh UC (2011) Basin morphometry of Maingra River, metric analysis of the upper catchment of Kosi River using GIS district Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India. Int J Geomat Geosci techniques. Arab J Geosci 6(6):395–408 1(4):891–902 Singh RK, Bhatt CM, Prasad VH (2003) Morphological study of a Publisher’s Note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to watershed using remote sensing and GIS techniques. Hydrol J jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. 26(1–2):55–66 Singh P, Thakur JK, Singh UC (2013) Morphometric analysis of Morar River Basin, Madhya Pradesh, India, using remote sensing and GIS techniques. Environ Earth Sci 68(7):1967–1977 1 3 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Applied Water Science Springer Journals

The significance of morphometric analysis to understand the hydrological and morphological characteristics in two different morpho-climatic settings

Applied Water Science , Volume 10 (1) – Dec 19, 2019

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Springer Journals
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Earth Sciences; Hydrogeology; Water Industry/Water Technologies; Industrial and Production Engineering; Waste Water Technology / Water Pollution Control / Water Management / Aquatic Pollution; Nanotechnology; Private International Law, International & Foreign Law, Comparative Law
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10.1007/s13201-019-1118-2
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Abstract

Drainage morphometric parameters are important indicator to understand the hydrological and morphological characteristics of any region. Present study aims to understand the hydrological and morphological characteristics in two different morpho- climatic settings from drainage basin morphometric parameters. Remote sensing and GIS have been used as efficient tools in delineating and understanding of any drainage basin morphometry. The Kosi River basin of northern India for the moun- tain–plain tropical environment and Kangsabati River basin of eastern India for the plateau–plain sub-humid environment has been selected for the present study. The geological, geomorphological, hydrological, fluvial characteristics have been stressed out under linear, areal and relief aspects of morphometric parameters. The drainage morphometric parameters have been determined and measured after using the Advanced Space borne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer global DEM (90 m) in ARC GIS 10.1. All the linear morphometric measures of mountain–plain humid Kosi River basin indicate its high flood potentiality, whereas, linear morphometric measures of Kangsabati River basin indicate less flood potential- ity and plateau landform characteristics of sub-humid environment. The mean bifurcation ratio also indicates Kosi River has greater flood potentiality than Kangsabati River. Kosi River has drained large amount of water due to its near-circular basin shape than Kangsabati River which has an elongated shape. All the relief characteristics indicate that tropical moun- tain–plain environment dominated Kosi River basin is in rejuvenated or young stage of geomorphic development, whereas sub-humid plateau–plain dominated Kangsabati River basin is in mature stage of geomorphic development. Most of the morphometric characteristics indicate there are high geologic and geomorphological controls on river basin characteristics. The remote sensing and GIS tool have been successfully implemented throughout the study to understand the morphometric characteristics in two different morpho-climatic settings. Also, the results can be used for plan formation and sustainable management of the study area. Keywords Morphometric parameters · Morpho-climatic settings · Remote sensing and GIS · Tropical environment · Sub- humid environment · Geomorphic development Introduction geomorphological formations and hydrological characteris- tics of any basin (Morisawa 1985). The relationship between Drainage morphometry is defined as a measurement of lin- drainage morphometric parameters to its underlain geology, ear, areal and relief characteristics of any drainage basin geomorphology and hydrological characteristics is estab- (Clarke 1966). Drainage morphometry was first initiated lished through the work of different geologist and geomor - by Horton (1932). The drainage morphometric characteris- phologist (Strahler 1952; Chorley et al. 1985). It also plays tics are important to understanding the underlain structure, an important role to characterise the soil erosion, flood con- dition and geomorphological processes (Chavare and Potdar 2014). The evolutionary history of any basin can be best * Avijit Mahala understood through the implication of different relief mor - mahala.avijit@gmail.com phometric measures of drainage basin (Sharma and Sarma 1 2013). The different morphometric characteristics like lin- Center for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal ear parameters (stream order, stream number, bifurcation Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India Vol.:(0123456789) 1 3 33 Page 2 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 ratio, strength length, mean stream length), areal or basin 2014). The delineation of groundwater potential areas parameters (circularity ratio, elongation ratio, drainage through different morphometric parameters of drainage by density, drainage frequency) and relief parameters (dissec- the use of remote sensing and GIS is an established phenom- tion index, ruggedness index, hypsometric characteristics) enon. The study of Waikar and Nilawar (2014) found there are important for any river basin management. The hydro- is strong relationship among different morphometric param- logical and morphological behaviour of any basin can be eters with its groundwater potentiality. The GIS is proved best understood through the areal and relief morphometric to be a viable tool to understand the hydrological response parameters, respectively. Different fluvial processes with its behaviour of any drainage basin (Rai et al. 2017). morphometric characteristics are well established (Chor- The morphometric study of mountain–plain front rivers ley et al. 1985; Vittala et al. 2004). The geomorphological of the world has found higher stream order, high bifurcation stages of evolution with its erosional characteristics can also ratio, near-circular basin shape and relatively young geomor- be best understood through the different drainage morpho- phic stages of development (Eckbld et al. 1997; Pareta and metric parameters (Strahler 1952). It provides enormous Pareta 2011; Nongkynrih and Husain 2011). These studies idea to identify the morphological, hydrological problems also give credits to remote sensing and GIS to explore the and helps with related management procedures. This study morphometric characteristics in mountain–plain tropical reveals to understand the hydrological and morphological environment. Most of the study found mature stage geomor- characteristics from drainage morphometric parameters in phic development in plateau regions of the world through two different morpho-climatic settings. the different drainage morphometric characteristics (Vittala The remote sensing and GIS tool have been used for et al. 2004; Rudraiah et al. 2008). These studies also found drainage morphometric characteristics from long past. The remote sensing and GIS as an efficient tool to understand study of Vittala et al. (2004) has used remote sensing and the drainage morphometric characteristics in plateau–plain GIS for morphometric analysis of sub-watershed in a south semi-humid environment. The plateau land river basin also Indian plateau region. They found mature stage of geomor- has elongated characteristics (Singh and Singh 2011). This phic development in plateau environment and also give study selects Kosi river basin as a representative of moun- credits to remote sensing and GIS as an efficient tool for tain–plain tropical environment and Kangsabati river basin drainage morphometric analysis. Sreedevi et al. (2005) have as a representative of plateau–plain sub-humid environment used spatial technology to measure drainage morphometry of India. in response to structural control and groundwater delinea- The Kosi river basin which is representative of the moun- tion. They proved remote sensing and GIS could find out tain–plain tropical environment of the present study is major the best groundwater resource as well as structural controls attention from long past, especially due to its frequent chan- on drainage morphometry. Thomas et al. (2010) have suc- nel shifting and flood characteristics. Studies indicate the cessfully applied remote sensing and GIS to understand the relation between channel shifting characteristics of Kosi soil loss and hydrological makeup in a mountain environ- River to its morphometric characteristics (Singh et al. 2003). ment through the drainage morphometric characteristics. The changes of Kosi river morphometry is also related to Ansari et al. (2012) found remote sensing and GIS as an the area of wetland changes in this region (Ghosh 2009). efficient tool to understand the morphometric behaviour Most studies indicate the linear and areal morphometric of any plain topographical area. The anomalies in drain- characteristics of Kosi river basin to its irregular hydrologi- age morphometric parameters are an important indicator of cal behaviour (Jain and Sinha 2008). Studies also indicate active tectonics, frequently seen in mountain glacial–fluvial the relief morphometric characteristics behind the irregular environment. Remote sensing and GIS have proved as effi- hydrological characteristics of the Kosi river basin (Jain and cient tools to understand this phenomenon (Bali et al. 2011; Sinha 2008). Study of Sinha et al. (2008) identified the mega Pareta and Pareta 2012). Parveen et al. (2012) have found avulsion formation of Kosi River due to its morphometric remote sensing and GIS as a very helpful tool to understand characteristics. Most studies relate flood characteristics of the topographical and drainage morphometric characteristics Kosi river basin to its basin shape and size characteristics in plateau regions of the world. The results of morphometric (Shrestha et al. 2010; Chen et al. 2013). Studies also indicate analysis from remote sensing and GIS techniques are use- the multicyclic or rejuvenated stages of geomorphic devel- ful for hydrological implication of river basin and artificial opment from its relief morphometric characteristics (Chor- recharging structure (Golekar et al. 2013). The remote sens- ley et al. 1985). So, the morphometric characteristics sup- ing and GIS-induced morphometric parameters are proved port Kosi basin as a true representative of mountain–plain to be immense utility in natural resource management, water tropical river basin. The Kangsabati River basin which is conservation and river basin evaluation (Singh et al. 2013). representative of plateau–plain sub-humid river basin for The drainage morphometric characteristics can be evaluated the present study has plateau land morphometric character- through the GIS model also (Magesh and Chandrasekhar istics (Mahala 2017, 2018). Low bifurcation ratio, elongated 1 3 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 3 of 16 33 basin shape and mature stages of geomorphic development upper basin create potential source of river energy. It forms are the general morphometric characteristics of any plateau large amount of sediment deposition in Himalayan foothills river basin area (Vittala et al. 2004; Rudraiah et al. 2008). and plain areas in middle and lower reaches of basin. This Studies of Nag and Lahiri (2012) identified regular hydro- phenomenon causes major avulsion, frequent course changes logical behaviour from the linear and areal morphometric and delta formation in lower basin reaches (Castillo et al. characteristics of Kangsabati river basin region. Changes 1988). Sudden changes of slope in Himalayan foothill areas of river courses are also limited due to its low hydrologi- create large alluvial fan along the river courses. Out of total cal pressure (Pan 2013). Studies of Dutta and Roy (2012) 720 km length of Kosi River, it flows as much as 320 km in found the mature stages of geomorphological evolution after plain lands of northern Bihar after crossing Siwalik Hima- analysing the different areal and relief morphometric char - laya. Construction of embankments and dense settlement in acteristic of the basin. The morphometric changes with the o fl odplain areas increase o fl od potentiality of the basin. Kosi changes of geology and geomorphology of Kangsabati river has changed its main course as much as 100 km eastward basin is a well-established fact (Gayen et al. 2013). Kangsa- in August 2008 due to its embankments failure (Sinha et al. bati basin is a true representative plateau–plain sub-humid 2008). river basin, reflected through its morphometric characteris- The Kangsabati River basin in eastern Chotanagpur pla- tics (Gayen et al. 2013). teau of India has been selected for plateau–plain sub-humid In general, most of morphometric studies of river basin river basin (Fig. 1). The upper reaches of basin comes under are conducted to measure the morphometric values. There Pre-Cambrian granite–gneiss geological formation domi- are very few studies aims to unearth the hydrological and nated undulating dissected plateau region. Primary and morphological characteristics from its morphometric param- secondary laterite formation dominates the middle reaches. eters in different morpho-climatic settings (Raux et al. 2011; Alluvial deposition dominated plain landforms dominate Sharma and Sarma 2013). In addition to this, most of studies lower reaches of basin. Lower regimes of water and seasonal in the world are involved to understand the morphometric characteristics dominate the streamflow characteristics. characteristics in either plateau, plain or mountain area (Vit- After originating from ‘Ajodhya hill’ of eastern Chotana- tala et al. 2004; Pareta and Pareta 2011). There is a serious gpur plateau, it flows through the plateau fringe regions of lack of studies in adjoining parts of plateau–plain or moun- West Bengal in an eastward direction (Nag and Lahiri 2012). tain–plain areas which have a distinct hydrological and mor- Out of its total length of 465 km, the dissected Chotanagpur phological behaviour. Also, there are few studies to compare plateau covers around 200 km in upper and middle reaches the morphometric parameters in the above stated two dis- of basin. Studies indicate that the basin is in mature stages of tinct morpho-climatic areas. The remote sensing techniques geomorphic development (Dutta and Roy 2012; Pan 2013). along with the sufficient integration of GIS technology play an important role in unearthing the hydro-morphological characteristics from its morphometric parameters. So, in the Geohydrological framework present study, an attempt has been made to access the mor- phometric characteristics in two different morpho-climatic The origin and development of drainage system depend settings. Two main objectives of the present study are: (1) to upon the underlain geology, endogenetic and exogenetic understand the hydrological and morphological character- forces operating in the area (Reddy et al. 2004). The Kosi istics from morphometric parameters (2) compare the mor- and Kangsabati basin have varied geohydrological charac- phometric characteristics in two different morpho-climatic teristics upon which the morphometric characteristics differ settings. these two rivers. Geologically, the quaternary and recent alluvial deposits dominate in lower course of Kosi river geohydrological framework (Fig. 2). The Tertiary (Siwalik Study area system) and Mesozoic (Jurassic, Cretaceous, Triassic) rock systems spread in upper course of Kosi river system. Struc- The Kosi river basin in Himalayan foothills of India has been tures which are linear geomorphic features have given the selected as a mountain–plain humid river basin (Fig.  1). important impression in developing the drainage network of Major neo-tectonic Himalayan orogeny dominates the area. the region. The upper basin area of Kosi basin has experi- The irregular hydrological behaviour with rapid avulsion enced linear structural features in the form lower, middle and changes is the well-known identity of the basin (Sinha et al. upper Himalaya have role on morphometric and hydrological 2008). The tertiary Himalayan geological formation in upper characteristics. The Kosi basin has experienced structural reaches with sedimentary deposition in middle and lower disturbances which leads to development of well-marked reaches are the major geological characteristics of the basin. set of joints and fractures. The Kosi basin has two types High elevation, high slop and mountain landform dominated 1 3 33 Page 4 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Fig. 1 The location map of Kosi and Kangsabati River basin of aquifer-weathered aquifer in lower course and fractured alluvial plain and fractured aquifer in upper basin granite aquifer in upper course of basin. gneiss geological formation. The oldest rock system comprising of granite, granite gneiss and mica schist from the basement rock system of Kangsabati river basin (Fig. 2). The upper course of Kang- Materials and methods sabati basin covers by unclassified crystalline mainly gneiss, granite gneiss and mica schist. The laterite and meta-vol- The different indicators of drainage network (drainage mor - canic rock encountered in middle basin and lower basin cov- phometry) give inference about the hydrological and rock ers by alluvium and recent alluvial deposits. The Kangsabati formation characteristics of the basin (Singh et al. 2013). basin has experienced structural disturbances in the forms The hydrological observations along with morphometric of lineaments and joints. The main fractures/joints are in the characteristics give useful clues about geological forma- direction of NE to SW. Like Kosi basin, Kangsabati basin tions of the basin. Since the basic objective of the paper is has also experienced weathered aquifer in lower course of to access the hydrological and morphological characteristics 1 3 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 5 of 16 33 Fig. 2 Geological map of River basin a Kosi and b Kangsabati of river basin from different morphometric parameters in mosaic tools of ERDAS-IMAGINE 14 have been used for two different morpho-climatic settings, several morphomet- mosaicking and clipping of required area for two different ric parameters (linear, areal, relief) need to calculate and basins. The consecutive topographical sheet of ‘Survey of interpret (Table 1) (Fig. 2). Like, linear aspect (stream order, India’ (SOI) has been georeferenced and used to cross verify bifurcation ratio, mean bifurcation ratio, stream length, mean the drainage system extracted from ASTER GDEM 30 m stream length, stream length ratio), areal aspect (stream data. The different morphometric parameters of linear, relief frequency, drainage density, texture ratio, form factor, cir- and areal aspects have been calculated through the use of cularity ratio, elongation ratio) and relief aspect (relative ASTER GDEM 30 m data with ArcGIS 10.1. relief, relief ratio, dissection index, ruggedness index). The different morphometric parameters have been successfully Extraction of Kosi and Kangsabati River watershed evaluated by remote sensing and GIS (Singh et al. 2013). Georeferenced with precisely orthorectified Global Digital The river basin of Kosi and Kangsabati has been automati- Elevation Model (GDEM) data of ‘Advanced Spaceborne cally extracted from the ASTER DEM (30 m) through the Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer’ (ASTER pour point identification with the various geoprocessing tool 30 m) has been used for present study. The data have been of Arc GIS 10.1. The pour point is the user-defined cell downloaded from United State Geological Survey (USGS) of highest flow accumulation within DEM. The extracted website. GDEM of ASTER has following parameters: drainage basin has been verified through SOI Topo sheet (1: 50,000). Datum name: WGS 84. Spheroid name: WGS 84. Calculation of drainage morphometry Projection type: Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM). The different drainage morphometric parameters (linear, Both the study area falls under UTM zone of 44. The areal, relief) have been extracted and calculated through a whole area of two basins covers more than two scenes. The combination of geoprocessing tools available in Arc GIS 1 3 33 Page 6 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 1 3 Table 1 Morphometric parameters of a river basin Morphometric aspects Parameters Formulae Description References Linear aspect Stream order (u) Hierarchical rank u has been calculated through the use of Strahler formula Strahler (1964) in Arc GIS 10.1 Stream no. (N ) N = number of streams of a particular order ‘u’ N has been calculated for each order (u) through the use of Strahler (1964) u u Strahler formula in ArcGIS 10.1 Bifurcation ratio (R ) R = (N /N + 1); where, N = number of streams of a R has been calculated as the ratio of total number of Schumm (1956) b b u u u b particular order ‘u’, N + 1 = Number of streams of next streams in a given order to its next higher order higher order ‘u + 1’ Mean bifurcation ratio (R ) R = mean of bifurcation ratios of all orders R has been calculated as the mean of R of all order Schumm (1956) bm bm bm b Stream length (L ) L = total length of streams (km) of a particular order ‘u’ L has been calculated through the use of Horton formula Horton (1945) u u u in ArcGIS 10.1 Mean stream length (L ) L = L /N ; where, L = total length of streams (km) of a L has been calculated as the ratio of total length of Horton (1945) um um u u u um particular order ‘u’, N = Total number of streams of a streams of each order (L ) to its total number of streams u u particular order ‘u’ (N ) Stream length ratio (R ) R = L /L + 1; where, L = mean stream length of a R has been calculated as the ratio of L in a giver order to Horton (1945) l l um um u l um particular order ‘u’, L + 1 = mean stream length of next its next higher order higher order ‘u + 1’ 2 2 Areal aspect Form factor (F ) F = A/L ; where, A = area of the basin (km ), L = basin F has been calculated as the ratio between the basin area Horton (1945) f f f length (km) to the square of basin length 2 2 Circularity ratio (R ) R = 4πA/P ; where, A = area of the basin (km ), P = outer R has been calculated as the area of the basin to the area Strahler (1964) c c c boundary of a drainage basin (km) of circle having the same circumference as the perimeter of the basin Elongation ratio (R ) R = P/πL; P = outer boundary of a drainage basin (km), R has been calculated as the ratio of diameter of a circle Strahler (1964) e e e L = basin length (km) which have same area as that of basin to the total length of basin Constant of channel mainte- CCM = 1/D ; where, D = drainage density CCM has been calculated with the reciprocal of drainage Strahler (1964) d d nance (CCM) density Stream frequency (F ) F = N/A; where, N = total number of streams of a given F has been calculated as the ratio of number of streams Horton (1945) s s s basin, A = total area of basin (km ) per unit area of basin Drainage Density (D ) D = L/A; where, L = length of streams (km), A = Basin D has been calculated as the length of stream channel per Horton (1945) d d d area (km ). unit area of basin Texture ratio (R ) R = D  * F , where, D = drainage density (km/km ), R has been calculated as the product of drainage density Smith (1950) t t d s d t F = stream frequency (numbers/km ) and stream frequency Relief aspect Relative relief (H) H = R − r, where, R = highest relief, r = lowest relief H has been calculated after maximum vertical range Schumm (1956) between highest and lowest point of any basin Relief ratio (R ) R = (H/L max); where, H = relative relief (m), L = length of R has been calculated after dividing the relative relief to Schumm (1956) r r r basin (m) the total length of basin Dissection index (D ) D = H/R; H = relative relief (m), R = absolute relief (m) D has been calculated as the ratio between relative relief to Schumm (1956) i i i the absolute relief in per unit area of basin Ruggedness index (R ) R = D  * H/1000; where, D = drainage density, H = rela- R has been calculated as the product of drainage density Schumm (1956) i i d d i tive relief and relative relief Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 7 of 16 33 10.1. First of all, the drainage network has been extracted forms where two 1st-order streams join. A 3rd-order stream through the Strahler’s formula where segments with no forms when two 2nd-order streams join and so on. The main tributaries identified as a first-order stream. When the two channel through which most of water discharged marked 1st-order stream joins form a 2nd-order stream and so on. as highest order stream of any particular drainage basin. The different aspects of drainage morphometry like bifurca- This stream order depends on basin shape, size and relief tion ratio (R ), mean bifurcation ratio (R ), mean stream characteristics of such basin (Haghipour and Burg 2014). b bm length (L ), stream length ratio (R ), form factor (F ), cir- Most studies indicate the increasing order of streams in the um l f cularity ratio (R ), stream frequency (F ), drainage density mountain–plain humid environment than plateau–plain sub- c s (D ), dissection index (D ), ruggedness index (R ) have been humid environment (Wakode et al. 2013). The total number d i i calculated through the standard formula given in Table 1. of streams of Kosi basin are 10,591 of which 5315 (50.2%), The slope characteristics also derived through the spatial 2449 (23.1%), 1338 (12.6%), 768 (7.8%), 551 (5.2%), 71 analysis tool available in Arc GIS 10.1. (0.7%) and 99 (0.9%) streams belongs to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th order, respectively (Table 2) (Fig. 3). Lower order streams are in higher number due to its upper mountain Results and discussion course. Also, higher number of streams in upper reaches indicates the occurrence of young topography adjacent to the Drainage morphometric parameters are essential to under- stream concerned. The sudden decrease in 3rd and 4th order stand the hydrological and morphological characteristics of streams indicates its major morphological change. Higher of any basin (Thomas et al. 2010; Castillo et al. 1988). It number of streams throughout the different orders indicates is also useful to understand the structural controls of any its high erosion characteristics. It is proved from high sedi- basin (Sharma and Sarma 2013). The hydro-sedimentary ment load of Kosi river basin. The high number of lower flow regimes are also determined by basin characteristics order streams (1st, 2nd and 3rd order) increase the amount (Raux et al. 2011). The present study was conducted with the of water received which ultimately creates huge water flux in aim of hydrological and morphological understanding from lower reaches of basin, whereas Kangsabati basin has total different morphometric parameters in two different morpho- 1216 number of streams of which 609 (50.1%), 279 (22.9%), climatic settings. The Kosi basin which is representative of 152 (12.5%), 68 (5.6%), 25 (2.1%) and 83 (6.8%) number the mountain–plain humid environment has tertiary Hima- of streams belongs to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th order, layan geology in upper reaches, and recent sediment depos- respectively (Table 2) (Fig. 3). The consistent decrease in ited Gangetic plain areas in lower reaches of basin. Kosi is number of streams in relation to stream order (N ) (except highly notorious due to its high sediment load and migra- 5th order) throughout the basin indicates the dominance of tory trends with antecedent river characteristics. Failure of erosional landform throughout the basin. The lower number Kosi embankment and changes in avulsion characteristics of streams in 1st, 2nd and 3rd order indicates its mature are major concerns of recent past. This phenomenon can be topography adjacent to the stream concerned. Higher order interpreted through the local geological adjustment, plate streams (4th, 5th, 6th order) are less in number due to its motions, geotectonic, etc., (Arogyaswamy 1971; Agarwal alluvial deposited plain course. The lower number of streams and Bho 1992) whereas Kangsabati river basin which is in upper reaches and consistent number of streams (except representative of plateau–plain sub-humid environment falls 5th order) throughout the basin indicates its lower water under Archaean Gneiss and Schist geological formations in regimes and water stress condition. upper reaches. The middle and lower reaches are dominated Bifurcation ratio (R ) expresses the ratio of number of by laterite and alluvial deposition, respectively. As Kangsa- streams of a given order (u) to its next higher order (u + 1) bati flows through the eastern Chotanagpur plateau which (Horton 1945). Strahler (1952) indicates that without strong is sub-humid characteristics, it remains dry in most of the controls of geological formation, the R shows only small times (Raux et al. 2011). The different hydrological and variation in different regions. It is considered an important morphological characteristics about the different morpho- parameter, denoting the water carrying capacity and related metric parameters have discussed below- flood potentiality of any basin. The value normally ranges from 2 to 5 (Joji et al. 2013). Studies identified high R val- Linear aspects of River basin morphometry ues in mountain–plain areas than plateau–plain fringe areas of tropical environment due to its young morphological Stream order (N ) treated as the first step of drainage analysis adjustment and high water pressure (Kim and Jung 2015). based on the hierarchical ranking of streams. Strahler (1964) The bifurcation ratio for different order of streams in Kosi invented ordering method has been selected for the present basin is 2.17 for 1st to 2nd, 1.83 for 2nd to 3rd, 1.74 for 3rd study. According to Strahler (1964), the smallest fingerprint to 4th, 1.39 for 4th to 6th, 7.76 for 5th to 6th, 0.71 for 6th to tributaries numbered as 1st order. The 2nd order of stream 7th, respectively (Table 2). The values of R in Kosi basin 1 3 33 Page 8 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 are indicative of inconsistency in morphological adjustment (as the R values are not consistent throughout the differ - ent order). The irregularities are due to strong geological and lithological controls of the basin. Also, high bifurca- tion ratio in higher order streams indicates large amount of water received in upper basin area. But low R and related lower number streams in lower reaches increase water pres- sure. The frequent flood characteristics of Kosi river support this phenomenon, whereas the R values of Kangsabati river basin are 2.18 for 1st to 2nd, 1.83 for 2nd to 3rd, 2.23 for 3rd to 4th, 1.30 for 4th to 5th and 0.30 for 5th to 6th order streams (Table 2). The consistency of R values throughout the basin and low average bifurcation ratio is indicative of mature geomorphological adjustment. Low mean R is also indicative of water stress condition for river basin. A con- stant decrease of R throughout the different stream order as well as low mean R (1.56) indicates low flood potentiality for the basin. Stream length (L ) is calculated according to law pro- posed by Horton (1945). It indicates the successive stage of stream segment development (Castillo et al. 1988). A direct geomorphic and hydrological sequence can approxi- mate from different order stream lengths. Generally, the total length of streams is maximum in 1st order, and L decreases as stream order increases. The irregularities in this trend are indicative of discrepancies in lithology. Studies suggest high stream length in mountain–plain front than plateau–plain front river basin (Vittala et al. 2004; Sreedevi et al. 2005). The stream length for different orders of the Kosi basin in 1st (12,396 km), 2nd (6595 km), 3rd (3463 km), 4th (1756 km), 5th (1327  km), 6th (162  km), and 7th order (216  km) (Table 2). The irregularities of stream length between 6th and 7th order indicates geological and morphological control on river basin. Irregularities are also indicative of lithologi- cal inconsistency of drainage basin whereas the L values of plateau–plain front Kangsabati basin in 1st (1559 km), 2nd (790 km), 3rd (350 km), 4th (154 km), 5th (62 km) and 6th (194 km) (Table 2). The low length of streams in upper reaches and consistency of stream length throughout the basin is indicative of mature to old geological formation and sufficient morphological adjustment throughout the basin. Mean stream length (L ) is the characteristics prop- sm erty of drainage network and associated surface according to Strahler (Strahler 1964). It is an important dimension- less morphometric characteristic calculated by dividing the total length of streams of a given order (u) to the total number of streams (N ) of such order. In general, the ratio of L increases with increasing order of streams (Shrestha sm et al. 2010). Most of the studies indicate low L value in sm mountain environment than plateau or plain morphology (Rai et al. 2017). The mean L ratio of Kosi basin in 1st sm (2.33 km), 2nd (2.69 km), 3rd (2.59 km), 4th (2.29 km), 5th (2.41 km), 6th (2.28 km) and for 7th order (2.18 km) 1 3 Table 2 Linear morphometric aspects of river basins Morphometric parameters Kangsabati Basin Kosi Basin Stream order (u) I II III IV V VI I II III IV V VI VII Stream no (N ) (%) 609 (50.1) 279 (22.9) 152 (12.5) 68 (5.6) 25 (2.1) 83 (6.8) 5315 (50.2) 2449 (23.1) 1338 (12.6) 768 (7.3) 551 (5.2) 71 (0.7) 99 (0.9) Bifurcation ratio (R ) – 2.18 1.83 2.23 1.30 0.30 – 2.17 1.83 1.74 1.39 7.76 0.71 Mean bifurcation ratio (R ) 1.56 2.6 bm Stream length (L ) in km 1559 790 350 154 62 194 12,396 6595 3463 1756 1327 162 216 Mean stream length (L ) 2.55 2.83 2.30 2.26 2.48 2.33 2.33 2.69 2.59 2.29 2.41 2.28 2.18 um Stream length ratio (R ) – 0.90 1.23 1.01 0.91 1.06 – 0.86 1.04 1.13 0.95 1.06 1.04 l Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 9 of 16 33 Fig. 3 Flow diagram of method- DEM Processing ology for River basin morpho- metric analysis Fill sinks Flow direction Flow accumulation Pour point identification Watershed extraction Kosi BasinKangsabati Basin Linear Aspect Areal Aspect Relief Aspect Stream Order (u) Form Factor (Ff) Relative Relief (H) Stream No. (Nu) Circularity Ratio (Rc) Relief Ratio (Rr) Bifurcation Ratio (Rb) Elongation Ratio (Re) Dissection Index (Di) Mean Bifurcation RatioConstant of channel Ruggedness Index (Ri) (Rbm) maintenance (CCM) Stream Length (Lu) Stream Frequency (Fs) Mean Stream Length Drainage Density (Dd) (Lum) Texture ratio (Rt) Stream Length Ratio (Rl) (Table 2). Low L values in the upper reaches of the Kosi Stream length ratio (R ) is the ratio between mean sm l basin indicate young morphological development and high stream lengths of one order to the next higher order. erosion potentiality. The mean stream length for higher Generally, it tends to be similar throughout the different order, e.g. 2nd order and above (except 4th and 6th order), orders. Mean stream length segment of each successive is greater for Kosi basin is due to the fact that higher order order of basin tends to direct geometric series with stream streams completed their channel lengthening, whereas length increasing towards higher order according to Hor- 1st order streams need times for extending its length. The ton (Horton 1945). Studies suggest mountain–plain front fact indicates young stage of geomorphic development of river basin have irregular tendency of stream-length ratio Kosi basin. The anomalies in L throughout the different than regular plateau fringe river basin (Magesh and Chan- sm orders suggesting slope changes and changes in the geo- drasekhar 2014). The stream length ratio of Kosi basin logical set up which in turn denotes abrupt changes in flow starts with 0.86 for 1st to 2nd order, 1.04 for 2nd to 3rd characteristics. This has also brought discrepancies of sur- order, 1.13 for 3rd to 4th order, 0.95 for 4th to 5th order, face flow discharge and sedimentation. The mean stream 1.06 for 5th to 6th order and 1.04 for 6th to 7th order length for Kangsabati basin in 1st (2.55 km), 2nd (2.88 km), (Table 2). The changes in stream length ratio denote that 3rd (2.26 km), 4th (2.48 km), 5th (2.33 km), respectively the area is in early stage of geomorphic development, and (Table 2). The low value of L for higher order streams, the area has the high potentiality of frequent changes in sm i.e. 2.26 km for 3rd order or 2.33 km for 5th order, is due to near future. This is also indicative of irregular hydrologi- the fact that the streams fall within these order has stopped cal behaviour, whereas the R values Kangsabati basin is their channel lengthening much before than the lower order 0.90 for 1st to 2nd, 1.23 for 2nd to 3rd, 1.01 for 3rd to streams. Relatively higher L values (1st and 2nd order) in 4th, 0.91 for 4th to 5th and 1.06 for 5th to 6th order of sm upper reaches of Kangsabati are indicative of low erosion streams, respectively. The R value for each order of Kang- potentiality which in turn denotes old erosional landform sabati basin is higher than Kosi basin. This is indicative development. The consistency of L values throughout the of younger stage of geomorphic development for Kosi sm basin and higher average L values is indicative of mature basin than Kangsabati basin. The R of Kangsabati basin sm l geomorphological adjustment and low flood regimes. is indicative of late young stage of geomorphic develop- ment as well as low water regimes. The low difference 1 3 33 Page 10 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 of R values in 1st to 2nd order for Kosi and Kangsabati The capability of any basin to drain is depended upon basin is due to their geomorphic controls. In other words, the drainage density of such area. Drainage density itself like Kosi basin, Kangsabati basin faces more or less same depends upon underlain geology, relief, geomorphology, cli- geomorphic constraints in channel lengthening in its upper mate, vegetation, etc. of that basin. The amount and types order (1st and 2nd order). of precipitation determined D value directly. Studies sug- gest high drainage density in mountain environment due to Areal aspects of River basin morphometry impermeable surface materials, sparse vegetation and high relief, whereas plateau environment bears low D due to Stream frequency (S ) is the total number of stream segments high infiltration and low relief (Magesh and Chandrasekhar irrespective of the order in per unit area (Horton 1945). It 2014; Parveen et al. 2012). The overall drainage density of may also define as the ratio between the total number of Kosi river basin is 0.67 (km/km ) (Table 3). It shows a direct stream segment cumulative of all orders and the basin relationship between drainage frequency and drainage den- area. It may be possible to have different stream frequency, sity. High drainage density in upper reaches of Kosi basin through the basin has same drainage density. Stream fre- indicates less permeable rock in bed surface, high slope and quency is related to permeability, infiltration capacity and high water flow regimes (Fig.  4). Very low D is observed relief of the basin. It provides drainage basin response to in lower reaches plain areas of the basin due to low relief runoff processes. Stream frequency depends on the rainfall, and high permeability. Thus, higher runoff with greater flow relief, initial resistivity of rocks as well as drainage density velocity results in potentiality of downstream flooding in the of the basin. The lower value of S indicates poor drainage basin, whereas for Kangsabati basin, the overall D is 0.43, f d network (Thomas et al. 2010). High slope and greater rainfall which is very low (Fig. 4) (Table 3). Low D is indicative increase stream frequency (S ) in mountain areas, whereas of low relief, low slope, high infiltration capacity and low low permeability and less available surface flow decrease the water regimes throughout the basin. S value in plateau environment (Bali et al. 2011). Stream Texture ratio (R ) is the product of stream frequency and f t frequency of mountain–plain front Kosi river basin is 0.27 drainage density (Horton 1945). R can also be defined as the (number/km ), which can categorise as a moderate stream ratio between total numbers of stream segments to the perim- frequency (Table 3). The higher S values in upper reaches eter of the basin. Infiltration capacity is the single important indicate high slope and lower permeability. But the plain factor influencing texture ratio recognised by Horton. It is course of lower basin area shows low S due to less avail- also an important fluvial parameter which denotes the rela- able relief, the plateau–plain front Kangsabati basin shows tive spacing of drainage network of any basin. R depends very low S as it is 0.17 (number/km ). The low S value of upon numbers of natural factors like the amount of rainfall, f f Kangsabati river basin is indicative of lower permeability of density of vegetation, soil types, infiltration capacity, stages rock, less relief and low slope in plateau environment. Also of geomorphic development and relief (Smith 1950). Col- semi-humid environment, low relative relief helps for lower lectively drainage density and drainage frequency can be S in Kangsabati basin. called drainage texture. The R values of < 2 indicate very f t Drainage density (D ) is the expression of the closeness coarse, 2–4 coarse, 4–6 moderate, 6–8 fine, > 8 very fine of spacing of channel within a basin as per Horton (1945). drainage texture (Smith 1950). The texture ratio of moun- As it provides a numerical measurement of runoff potenti- tain–plain environment Kosi basin is 7.60, which indicates ality and landscape dissection, D is the important indica- coarse drainage texture (Table 3). The values indicate low tor of landform element. D measures as the ratio of the infiltration capacity, less permeability of rock and high relief total length of streams irrespective of stream order to the and sparse vegetation. The R values of Kosi basin are also per unit area of the basin. It ranges from 0.55 to 2.09 km/ indicative of high water regimes, whereas the R of Kangsa- km in humid region (Joji et al. 2013). D considers as an bati basin is very low as 1.65 (Table 3). The value indicates important parameter determining the travel time of water. low rainfall, high infiltration, low relief in Kangsabati basin. Form factor (F ) is the ratio of the area of the basin to the square of basin length (Horton 1932). The value of F is Table 3 Areal morphometric aspects of river basins always less than 0.7854 (for a perfectly circular basin) (Bali et al. 2011). Smaller the value of F , more elongated is the Relief aspect Kosi Basin Kangsabati Basin basin. The value ‘0’ indicates elongated characteristics of Absolute relief (R) 3597 659 basin and ‘1’ indicates near-circular characteristics of basin Relative relief (H) 3588 657 with high peak flow. It indicates the flow characteristics of a Relief ratio (R ) 0.012 0.0028 basin (Castillo et al. 1988). Higher the value of F , more cir- Dissection index (D ) 0.990 0.996 cular is the basin which indicates high peak flow in shorter Ruggedness index (R ) 2.40 0.282 duration, whereas lower the value of F , more elongated is 1 3 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 11 of 16 33 Fig. 4 Linear aspects of River basin morphometry a Kosi and b Kangsabati the basin which indicates low peak flow with longer duration plateau–plain front river basin of sub-humid environment (Bali et al. 2011). Flood o fl ws of elongated basin can be eas - (Chen et  al. 2013). It also helps to give the idea about ily managed than that of circular basin. Mountain–plain front hydrological character of a drainage basin. The elongated river basin tends to form circular basin than plateau–plain basin has a low peak discharge. The R value of the Kosi front river basin. The F value of Kosi basin is 0.45, which basin is 1.52, which denotes perfect circular characteris- indicates the basin is near-circular (Table 3). It also indicates tics of the basin (Table 3) (Fig. 1). The R values of Kosi higher peak flow in limited times. This phenomenon has indicate its high flood characteristics and high peak flow. been proved by its recent embankment failure and frequent The R value of Kangsabati basin is 1.00, which indicates flood characteristics (Sinha et al. 2008). Large basin area its elongated characteristics (Table 3, Fig. 1). This value with near-circular shape helps Kosi to become an impor- is indicative of lower flood regimes and mature geomor - tant flood-prone basin in India (Sinha 2009), whereas the F phological adjustment for Kangsabati basin. value of plateau–plain front Kangsabati basin is 0.12. It indi- Circularity ratio (R ) is defined as the ratio between the cates its elongated shape with less peak flow. Comparatively area of the basin to the area of a circle having the same small basin area and elongated shape of Kangsabati basin perimeter (Strahler 1964). Value of R varies from ‘0’ (mini- indicate lower water regimes of Kangsabati river basin. This mum circularity) to ‘1’ (Maximum circularity). Cr values phenomenon has been supported as the basin comes under depend upon stream frequency, drainage density, climate, semi-humid areas of tropical India. geological structure, slope, relief, etc. of any basin. The Elongation ratio (R ) is the ratio of the diameter of a higher circular basin will affect by peak discharge in high circle having the same area as of basin to the maximum rainfall season. It is an indicative value determined the geo- basin length (Schumm 1956). It is also a significant index morphological stages of development of any basin. The high, of basin shape (Gayen et al. 2013). The value of R var- medium and low value of R is indicative of old, mature e c ies from ‘0’ (maximum elongated) to near ‘1’ (maximum and young stages of geomorphological adjustment of any circularity). The R values of near ‘1’ indicate that there basin. Generally, the mountain–plain front river basin of are less geomorphological controls on river basin (Strahler world tends to form circular basin due to its young morpho- 1964). The mountain–plateau front humid environment logical adjustment, whereas plateau–plain front river basin river basin tends to form less elongated river basin than forms elongated basin in response to mature morphological 1 3 33 Page 12 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 adjustment (Vittala et al. 2004; Thomas et al. 2010). The R Table 4 Relief morphometric aspects of River basins value of the Kosi basin is 0.25, which indicates its near-cir- Areal aspect Kosi Basin Kangsa- cular characteristics (Table 3). It also indicates neo-tectonic bati Basin upliftment and high peak flood runoff in monsoon season. Basin perimeter (P) (km) 1392 736 The R value for plateau–plain front Kangsabati basin is Basin area (A) (km ) 38,689 7073 0.16, which indicates elongated characteristics. It also refers Form factor (F ) 0.45 0.12 to mature geomorphological adjustment and less peak flow Circularity ratio (R ) 0.26 0.16 characteristics. Elongation ratio (R ) 1.52 1.00 Constant of channel maintenance (CCM) is defined as the Compactness constant (C ) 2.00 2.46 reciprocal of drainage density as property to define overland Constant of channel maintenance 1.49 2.27 flow (Schumm 1956). Indirectly, it can be expressed as a (CCM) required minimum area for the maintenance and develop- Stream frequency (S ) 0.27 0.17 ment of a channel (Dutta and Roy 2012). CCM is expressed Drainage density (D ) 0.67 0.43 in km /km. The lower value of CCM indicates higher flood Texture ratio (R ) 7.60 1.65 potentiality and young geomorphological adjustment. Moun- tain environment generally has low CCM values due to lower infiltration of bare soil and high overland flow. On the Relief ratio (R ) denotes the ratio between total reliefs to other hand, plateau–plain environment tends to high CCM value due to low drainage density and high infiltration in the length of the principal drainage line (Lindsay and Seibert 2013). The R value depends upon different factors of areal comparison to plateau–plain environment. The CCM value of the Kosi basin is 1.49 (Table 3). It indicates less channel and relief characteristics of basin. The high basin relief, cir- cular basin shape, small basin area increase the R value of availability to drain out the excess amount of water and low infiltration capacity of soil. All these ultimately indicates any basin. It indicates the overall steepness of the drainage basin and related degradation processes (Schumm 1956). high flood potentiality. The CCM value for Kangsabati basin is 2.27, which indicates high inl fi tration capacity, low drain - The R values generally higher in mountain environment than plateau river basin (Thomas et al. 2010). The R value age density and mature geomorphological adjustment. of Kosi basin is 0.012, which falls under moderate category (Table 4). Though Kosi River has originated from Himala- Relief aspects of River basin morphometry yan Mountain, most of basin area falls under lower relief plain area causes low R value. This value also indicative of Basin relief (R, H) includes absolute relief (R) and relative relief (H). The maximum relief of any basin and the maxi- high overland flow. The R value for Kangsabati basin is as low as 0.0028. This very low R value of Kangsabati basin is mum altitudinal difference is termed as absolute and relative relief, respectively. These are general morphometric param- indicative of elongated basin shape, low basin relief as well as maximum denudation stages of geomorphic evolution. eters used to understand the morphological characteristics of basin (Raux et al. 2011). Basin relief depends upon the Dissection index (D ) is defined as the ratio between rela- tive reliefs to its absolute relief. It indicates the vertical ero- underlain geology, geomorphology and drainage character- istics of the region. It is the best indicator of erosional stages sion and dissected characteristics of a basin (Haghipour and Burg 2014). The value of D ranges between ‘0’ (absence of of any river basin. Normally, the mountain–plain front river basin has higher basin relief than plateau–plain front river vertical dissection) to ‘1’ (Vertical areas). D values near to ‘0’ indicate maximum denudation stages of evolution and basin (Thomas et al. 2010). The highest relief of Kosi basin is 3597 m., which found near upper reaches of Himalayan near ‘1’ indicates minimum denudation stages of geomor- phic evolution. Mountain basins have relatively higher D peak (Table 4). The relative relief is 3588 m., which seems very high for erosional activity. Basin relief characteristics values in comparison to plateau–plain river basin (Waikar and Nilawar 2014). The D value of Kosi basin is 0.99, which of Kosi basin are indicative of young stages of geomorphic development and huge potentiality for further erosion. The indicate its young or rejuvenated stage of geomorphic devel- opment and minimum denudation stage (Table 4). It is also abrupt changes of basin relief in mountain–plain conjunction of Kosi river basin are indicative of prone to geomorpho- indicative of its further potentiality of erosion. Though the D value of Kangsabati basin shows near ‘0.9’, Kangsabati logical hazards. On the other hand, the R and H value for Kangsabati is as low as 659 and 657, respectively. The basin has mature denudation stages of evolution. Ruggedness index (R ) is defined as the product of drain- relief characteristics of Kangsabati basin are indicative of dissected erosional landform and mature stages of geomor- age density and relative relief. The high value of R occurs when both drainage density and relative relief are high phological evolution (Parveen et al. 2012; Rai et al. 2017). (Ansari et al. 2012). The ruggedness index depends upon 1 3 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 13 of 16 33 underlain geology, geomorphology, slope, steepness, vegeta- consequent embankments failure, whereas Kangsabati River tion cover, climate, etc. of that region. The higher R value which flows through the eroded eastern Chotanagpur plateau of any area indicates that the area is in primary stage of indicates constant channel gradient decline throughout its geomorphic development or denudation activity. Studies main course. suggest mountain environment basin have higher R than Slope (Ɵ) is an important morphometric parameter con- plateau river basin (Parveen et al. 2012). The high value of trolled by morpho-climatic processes of any area underlain R (2.40) for Kosi basin indicates its youthful or rejuvenated by varying resistance of rock surface. As slope determines stage of geomorphic development (Table 4). The R value of the infiltration vs runoff relation, it is important to under - Kangsabati is as low as 0.282. Very low R value of Kangsa- stand the nature of slope in any region. Infiltration capacity bati river basin is indicative of mature and maximum denu- is inversely related to the slope. The very high slope (> 40°) dation stages of erosion. This phenomenon is supported by dominated upper reaches of Kosi basin is the indication of its granite–gneiss and schist geology, rolling plateau fringe low infiltration related high drainage density and frequency landform characteristics. (Figs. 5, 6) (Table 4). It also indicates primary stages of geo- Channel gradient ratio can be defined as changes in morphic evolution. But slope dramatically decreases as Kosi vertical inclination in per unit area changes of horizontal enters in foothill plain areas. This typical slope characteristic distance. It is an indication of the stages of geomorphic developed intense flood characteristics as well as specific evolution as well as its potentiality for further erosion. The geomorphic landforms like alluvial fan, etc., whereas slope high channel gradient is seen in the mountainous course of Kangsabati river basin is low (< 10°) throughout the of river and least in plain course of river (Sreedevi et al. basin, indicates high infiltration and low drainage density 2005). The Kosi River is almost vertical from source region characteristics (Figs. 5, 6) (Table 4). This is also indicative up to Himalayan foothill areas in its upper reaches (Fig. 1), of its mature topographical development. whereas, it is near horizontal from Himalayan foothills up to river mouth in its plain course. Such types of gradient characteristics have the potentiality of frequent flooding and Fig. 5 Drainage density characteristics of River basins a Kosi and b Kangsabati 1 3 33 Page 14 of 16 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Fig. 6 Slope characteristics of River basins a Kosi and b Kangsabati susceptible to flooding. The constant decline of R values Conclusion with increasing stream order is characteristics of sub-humid region of tropical environment. The low mean value of R is The different morphometric parameters of a basin are the also indicative of low flood susceptible water stress region. best representative of underlain geology, geomorphology, Medium mean stream length and regular changes of stream relief, slope, climate as well as hydrological dynamics. The length ratio are also indicative of mature stages of geomor- parameter also indicates stages of geomorphic evolution of phic development in Kosi river basin. The areal morpho- any area. Morphometry plays an important role in basin- metric characteristics of Kosi basin indicate large amount of level construction and flood control planning. The present water discharge and peak flow in less available time. These study tries to unearth the morphological and hydrological are also indicative of younger stages of geomorphic develop- characteristics from different morphometric parameters as ment in the mountain–plain environment, whereas the areal well as changes of morphometric parameters in different morphometric characteristics of plateau fringe Kangsabati morpho-climatic settings. The Kosi basin which is repre- basin indicates low overland flow and low flood regimes. sentative of the mountain–plain humid tropical environment This is also evidence of its mature geomorphic development. has highest number stream order (up to VIIth order) related Old geomorphic development, highly dissected topography with large amount of water discharge and low-velocity flow. and pre-Cambrian geological formation is also get justified It indicates the basin is highly susceptible to flooding. Rapid by its areal morphometric characteristics. The relief charac- decline of bifurcation ratio with increasing order as well as teristics of Kosi basin supports young stages of geomorphic irregular nature of R values bear the indication of geological development and rejuvenated morphological characteristics unconformity and high susceptibility to flooding. The irregu- in mountain–plain front. The geomorphic and hydrological lar changes of stream length of Kosi River basin throughout instability is more common in high relief areas, whereas the different order indicate the younger or rejuvenated stage relief morphometric characteristics of Kangsabati river basin of river basin development, whereas Kangsabati basin which indicate late mature stages of geomorphic development and is representative of the plateau–plain sub-humid tropical maximum denuded landform cover. environment has lower number of stream order indicates low 1 3 Applied Water Science (2020) 10:33 Page 15 of 16 33 Chen NS, Hu GS, Deng W, Khanal N, Zhu YH, Han D (2013) On the After crosschecking the results from field verification and water hazards in the trans-boundary Kosi River basin. Nat Hazards related literature, the study concludes that drainage morpho- Earth Syst Sci 13:795–808 metric parameters have the huge potentiality to unveil the Chorley RJ, Schumm SA, Sugden DE (1985) Geomorphology. hydro-morphological characteristics of any river basin. The Methuen and Co., Ltd., London Clarke JJ (1966) Morphometry from map. Essays in geomorphology. study concludes that morphometric characteristics of any Elsevier, New York, pp 235–274 region can successfully reveal the hydrological and morpho- Dutta S, Roy S (2012) Determination of erosion surfaces and stages of logical characteristics. There is sufficient difference among evolution of Sangra drainage basin in Giridih district, Jharkhand, different morphometric parameters in different morpho-cli- India. Int J Geomat Geosci 3(1):63–73 Eckbld JW, Peterson NL, Ostile K (1997) The morphometry, benthos matic regions. In other words, drainage morphometry has and sedimentation rates of a floodplain lake in pool of the Upper the sufficient ability to differentiate morpho-climatic areas Mississippi River. Am Midl Nat 97(2):433–443 of the world through its different values. Remote sensing and Gayen S, Bhunia GS, Shit PK (2013) Morphometric analysis of Kang- GIS can successfully use for accessing the drainage morpho- sabati–Dwarakeshwar interfluves area in West Bengal, India using ASTER DEM and GIS techniques. Geol Geosci 2(4):1–10 metric characteristics. The results can be used for sufficient Ghosh AK (2009) Changing geomorphology of the Kosi River system hydrological and morphological planning for such areas. in the Indian subcontinent. Association of American Geographers, Washington Acknowledgements The author is currently working under the PhD Golekar RB, Baride MV, Patil SN (2013) Morphometric analysis and programme of Jawaharlal Nehru University. The work has been con- hydrogeological implication: Anjani and Jhiri river basin Maha- ducted under NET-JRF program of University Grants Commission rashtra, India. Arch Appl Sci Res 5(2):33–41 (UGC). The author is also thankful to his supervisor Dr. Padmini Haghipour N, Burg JP (2014) Geomorphological analysis of the Pani (Associate Professor, CSRD, JNU) for continuous guidance and drainage system on the growing Makran accretionary wedge. support. Geomorphology 209:111–132 Horton RE (1932) Drainage basin characteristics, 2nd edn. ransac- tions, American Geophysical Union, New York Compliance with ethical standards Horton RE (1945) Erosional development of streams and their drain- age basins: hydro physical approach to quantitative morphology. Conflict of interest The corresponding author states that there is no Bull Geol Soc Am 56:275–370 conflict of interest. Jain V, Sinha R (2008) Geomorphological manifestations of the flood hazard: a remote sensing based approach. 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