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Shapefiles and Historical Aerial Photographs, Little Missouri River, 1939-2003


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Miller, J.R., Friedman, J.M., Falvo, C.I.P., and Everette, A.L., 2017, Shapefiles and Historical Aerial Photographs, Little Missouri River, 1939-2003: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


The data archive contains the aerial photographs and channel delineations used in our analysis. The images have been geo-referenced to the 1995 digital orthophoto quarter quadrangles as described by Miller and Friedman (2009). The separate images for each year can be viewed as a composite along with that year’s channel delineation using a geographic information system (GIS). The 2003 IKONOS satellite imagery is proprietary and, therefore, cannot be served here. The channel delineations for all photo years (including 2003) and the delineation of the outer flood-plain boundary are stored as shapefiles. These shapefiles can be manipulated using GIS applications to reproduce the spatial analyses reported in Miller and Friedman (2009). [...]

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Shapefiles and Historical Aerial Photographs_Little-Missouri-River_Project-Metadata.xml
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Resolving observations of channel change into separate measurements of flood-plain erosion and deposition reveals distinct relations between these processes and the flow regime. We analyzed eight sequential bottomland images from 1939 to 2003 along the Little Missouri River, North Dakota, to relate flood-plain change to flow along this largely unregulated river. At the decadal scale flood-plain formation and erosion varied independently. Erosion was strongly positively correlated to infrequent high flows recurring every 5-10 years, while flood-plain formation was strongly negatively correlated to frequent low flows exceeded 80% of the time. At the century scale, however, a climatically induced decrease in peak flows has reduced the erosion rate, limiting the area made available for flood-plain formation. The rate of erosion was not uniform across the flood plain. Younger surfaces consistently eroded at a higher rate than older surfaces, suggesting that throughput of contaminants would occur more rapidly than predicted by models that assume uniform residence time of sediment across the flood plain. Flood-plain age maps produced by analysis of sequential flood-plain images were similar to forest-age maps produced through dendrochronology, confirming the assumption of dendrogeomorphic studies that riparian tree establishment in this system is limited to recent channel locations. All referenced photos were used to delineate the channel location on a 17.9 km. section of the Little Missouri River from 1939 to 2003.

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Type Scheme Key
Project ID RB00CKY.4
DOI doi:10.5066/F78W3C6F

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