25 Jan 2021

25 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Introducing GloRiSe – A global database on river sediment composition

Gerrit Müller, Jack J. Middelburg, and Appy Sluijs Gerrit Müller et al.
  • Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract. Rivers transport dissolved and solid loads from terrestrial realms to the oceans and between inland reservoirs, representing major mass fluxes on Earth's surface. The composition of river water and sediment provides clues to a plethora of earth and environmental processes, including weathering, erosion, nutrient and carbon cycling, environmental pollution, reservoir exchange and tectonic cycles. While there are documented, publicly available databases for riverine dissolved and suspended nutrients, there is no openly accessible, georeferenced database for riverine suspended sediment composition. Here, we present a globally representative set of 2828 suspended and bed sediment compositional measurements from 1683 locations around the globe. This database, named Global River Sediments (GloRiSe) version 1.0, includes major, minor and trace elements, along with mineralogical data, and provides time-series for some sites. Each observation is complemented by metadata describing geographic location, sampling date and time, sample treatment and measurement details, which allows for grouping and selection of observations, as well as for interoperability with external data sources and improves interpretability. Information on references, unit conversion and references make the database comprehensible. Notably, the close to globe-spanning extent of this compilation allows to derive data-driven, spatially resolved global-scale conclusions about the role of rivers and processes related to them within the Earth-system.

GloRiSe version 1.0 can be downloaded from Zenodo (, Müller et al., 2021) and (where updates with adapted version numbers will become available), along with a technical documentation and an example calculation in the form of a MATLAB script, that calculates the sediment-flux weighted major element composition of the annual riverine suspended sediment export to the ocean and related uncertainties.

Gerrit Müller et al.

Status: open (until 22 Mar 2021)

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Gerrit Müller et al.

Data sets

Global River Sediments (GloRiSe) (Version 1.0) Gerrit Müller, Jack J. Middelburg, and Appy Sluijs

Gerrit Müller et al.


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Short summary
Rivers are major fresh-water resources, connectors and transporters on Earth. As the composition of river waters and particles results from processes in their catchment, such as erosion, weathering, environmental pollution, nutrient and carbon cycling, Earth-spanning databases of river composition are needed to study these processes on a global scale. While extensive resources on water and nutrient composition exist, we provide a database of river particle composition.