The impact of channel capture on estuarine hydro-morphodynamics and water quality in the Amazon delta

Eldo Silva dos Santos, Paula Patrícia Pinheiro Lopes, Hyrla Herondina da Silva Pereira, Otávio de Oliveira Nascimento, Colin David Rennie, Leonel da Silveira Lobo O'Reilly Sternberg, Alan Cavalcanti da Cunha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Due to progressive erosion of the new Urucurituba Channel, the Amazon River has recently captured almost all discharge from the lower Araguari River (Amapá-AP, Brazil), which previously flowed directly to the Atlantic Ocean. These recent geomorphological changes have caused strong impacts on the landscape and hydrodynamic patterns near the Araguari River mouth, especially the alteration of the riverine drainage system and its water quality. Landsat images were used to assess the estuarine landscape morphodynamic, particularly the expansion of the Urucurituba Channel, 80 km from the Araguari River mouth, chronicling its connection to the Amazon River. The results suggest that the Urucurituba developed by headward migration across the Amazon delta; this is perhaps the first observation of estuarine distributary network development by headward channel erosion. The rate of Urucurituba Channel width increase has been ≈ 5 m/month since 2011, increasing drainage capacity of the channel. We also collected in situ hydrodynamic measurements and analyzed 17 water quality parameters. Having 2011 as baseline, the flowrate of Araguari River has been diverted by up to 98% through Urucurituba Channel, with substantial changes in net discharge recorded at 3 monitoring stations. Statistically significant differences in water quality (p < 0.05) were observed between 2011 and 2015, associated with the change in the flow pattern. Estuarine salinity and solids concentrations have increased. Overall, we demonstrate changes in landscape, hydrodynamics and water quality of the lower Araguari River.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-899
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - May 15 2018


  • Araguari River
  • Channel capture
  • Estuarine morphodynamic
  • Landscape change
  • Water budget
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of channel capture on estuarine hydro-morphodynamics and water quality in the Amazon delta'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this