On the multifractal characterization of river basins Academic Article uri icon


  • The spatial organization and scaling properties of a number of physical variables in river basins are analyzed within the framework of the multifractal formalism using data from digital elevation maps. These variables include energy expenditure, slopes, discharges and the channel initiation function, a measure of the processes that trigger channelization in the field. The spatial distribution of these variables have multifractal properties which can be described in terms of a multifractal spectrum. The analysis of nine very different basins in the United States shows that the multifractal spectra for each of the variables are very similar across basins, revealing a common structure of organization. This structure is compared to networks generated with Scheidegger's stochastic model of river basins and the differences are discussed. © 1992.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ijjasz-Vasquez, E. J., Rodriguez-Iturbe, I., & Bras, R. L.

citation count

  • 26

publication date

  • August 1992