Wout van Dijk

Dr. Wout van Dijk, Fluvial Geomorphologist

I would like to welcome you on my website about my research and other stuff that interests me. My name is Wout van Dijk and I work as a Post-Doctoral Researcher Associate at Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences at the department of Physical Geography since may 2016. After, a 2.5 year stay at Durham University, Department of Geography I moved back to the Netherlands and found a new challanging opportunity in Utrecht. My current research is about the role and process of dynamic perturbations by flowslides in Estuaries. 
I finished my PhD-research on how meandering rivers can form in a laboratory, which I did from 2009-2013 at Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences.  The title of my dissertation is 'Meandering rivers - feedbacks between channel dynamics, floodplain and vegetation' and you can find my dissertation online in the igitur library

Main research interests:

I am fascinated by the morphology of fluvial systems and the changes that occur over time. My research focusses on fluvial processes, e.g. sediment transport, bank erosion, floodplain formation, in relation to subsurface stratigraphy formed over millennia and longer.

Currently, I work on a project as part of the Vici proposal of Prof. Dr. MG Kleinhans 'Turning the tide: Dynamics of channels and shoals in estuaries with sands and mud'. The main objective is to generate understanding of natural dynamics and response to human interference of channels and shoals in river estuaries, and subsequently produce improved forecasting tools. This includes classic bank erosion in the river-dominated reach, shoal margin collapse by fluidisation and by breaching, and salt marsh retreat.

My specific objectives are to:

1. analyse channel margin collapse in available detailed field data
2. test and develop parameterisations for channel margin collapse in estuaries in Delft3D
3. analyse how the collapsed material spreads through the system and affects and perhaps perturbs the channel network

Previously, I was investigating groundwater depletion in relation to geomorphic and sedimentary settings as part of my postdoc in the Changing Water Cycle program with Alex Densmore, Sanjeev Gupta and Rajiv Sinha, which was a NERC-MoES project in collaboration with Universities in the UK and India. My role involved assessing the geomorphic setting and stratigraphy of palaeochannel aquifer systems in the northwestern Indo-Gangetic Plains, in conjunction with detailed geological, geophysical, and geochemical assessment of the aquifers. I identified an inactive fan surface but the lithologic data density is insufficient to reconstruct a fully 3D image of the region (JGR-paper). This is used to develop a regional-scale understanding of aquifer geometry, the degree of connectivity within the system, and its likely evolution over Holocene time scales.

In my PhD project I created the first dynamic meandering river in the lab and showed that this requires sustained upstream dynamics. Moreover, I demonstrated the influence of floodplain-channel sediment ratios on river and delta morphology. I combined strengths of fieldwork, experiments and numerical modelling during my PhD.

  • Fluvial Geomorphology
  • Fluvial Remote Sensing
  • Fluvial Sedimentology
  • Physical/ Numerical Modelling
  • River morphodynamics

My research                        

Currently, I work at Utrecht University as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate. 

I worked as a Postdoc on Terrestrial Laser Scan data to determine the coastline, which I did for 4 months and was part of the GLOBEX-project. (2013)

Furthermore, I worked for 2.5 years on the 'CWC-project'. Changing Water Cycle project as Postdoc - Model the architecture of the palaeochannel aquifer system, constrained by data from the northwestern Indo-Gangetic Plains, to develop a regional-scale understanding of aquifer geometry, the degree of connectivity within the system, and its likely evolution over Holocene time scales.

On this website you can find links to previously published work as well as presentations and posters.

Media attention of my previous work on meandering rivers:

A short newsflash was published on the work of our first article in a Dutch magazine (De Ingenieur) and in a Dutch newspaper (NRC weekend). Wietse (2nd author) and I were invited for a interview on the Dutch radio (TROS nieuwsshow) Furthermore, a short message was also published in the EOS (Research Spotlight) as our work got some extra attention in the Editors' Highlight. Later, my supervisor was invited to tell about our research on meandering rivers in the lab on Dutch National television.

About me

Wout van Dijk
Fluvial Geomorpholgy
at Universiteit Utrecht

contact info:
Universiteit Utrecht
faculty of Geosciences department of Physical Geography
Postbus 80115
3508 TC Utrecht

Visiting address:
Heidelberglaan 2
Room ZON126
3584CS Utrecht

tel. +31 30 253 7641