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Progressive geomorphic changes in the flight of fluvial terraces along the Rappahannock River, Virginia, provide a framework for analysing the effect of time on landforms. Indices of terrace preservation, especially drainage densities and area to perimeter ratios, show systematic changes with terrace age. Higher scarps tend to have steeper slopes and, for a given scarp height, older scarps tend to have gentler slopes. Depositional features such as bars and channels with 1-3m of relief are preserved on terraces on the order of 105 yr old.-from Author
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The Slumgullion landslide in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado has been moving for at least the last few hundred years and has multiple ponds on its surface. We have studied eight ponds during 30 trips to the landslide between July 1998 and July 2007. During each trip, we have made observations on the variability in pond locations and water levels, taken ground-based photographs to document pond water with respect to moving landslide material and vegetation, conducted Global Positioning System surveys of the elevations of water levels and mapped pond sediments on the landslide surface. Additionally, we have used stereo aerial photographs taken in October 1939, October 1940 and July 2000 to measure...
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The spatial variability of two fundamental morphological variables is investigated for rivers having a wide range of discharge (five orders of magnitude). The variables, water-surface width and average depth, were measured at 58 to 888 equally spaced cross-sections in channel links (river reaches between major tributaries). These measurements provide data to characterize the two-dimensional structure of a channel link which is the fundamental unit of a channel network. The morphological variables have nearly log-normal probability distributions. A general relation was determined which relates the means of the log-transformed variables to the logarithm of discharge similar to previously published downstream hydraulic...
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A new application of the autocorrelation grain size analysis technique for mixed to coarse sediment settings has been investigated. Photographs of sand- to boulder-sized sediment along the Elwha River delta beach were taken from approximately 1??2 m above the ground surface, and detailed grain size measurements were made from 32 of these sites for calibration and validation. Digital photographs were found to provide accurate estimates of the long and intermediate axes of the surface sediment (r2 > 0??98), but poor estimates of the short axes (r2 = 0??68), suggesting that these short axes were naturally oriented in the vertical dimension. The autocorrelation method was successfully applied resulting in total irreducible...
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The drainage networks of catchment areas burned by wildfire were analysed at several scales. The smallest scale (1-1000 m2) representative of hillslopes, and the small scale (1000 m2 to 1 km2), representative of small catchments, were characterized by the analysis of field measurements. The large scale (1-1000 km2), representative of perennial stream networks, was derived from a 30-m digital elevation model and analysed by computer analysis. Scaling laws used to describe large-scale drainage networks could be extrapolated to the small scale but could not describe the smallest scale of drainage structures observed in the hillslope region. The hillslope drainage network appears to have a second-order effect that reduces...
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Incision rates of the Colorado River are integral to understanding the development of the Colorado Plateau. Here we calculate episodic incision rates of the Colorado River based on absolute ages of two levels of Quaternary deposits adjacent to Glen Canyon, Utah, along the north flank of Navajo Mountain. Minimum surface ages are determined by a combination of cosmogenic radionuclide surface exposure ages, uranium series and soil-development formation times. Bedrock incision rates of the Colorado River between c. 500 ka and c. 250 ka, and c. 250 ka to present are c. 0·4 m ka−1 and c. 0·7 m ka−1, respectively. These rates are more than double the rates reported in the Grand Canyon, suggesting that the Colorado...
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We analyzed a combination of airborne and terrestrial LiDAR, high-resolution photography, seismic, and acoustic data in order to gain insights into the initiation, dynamics, and talus deposition of a complex rock fall. A large (46 700 m3) rock fall originated from near Ahwiyah Point in eastern Yosemite Valley and fell a total of 730 m to the valley floor on 28 March 2009. Analyses of remote sensing, seismic, and acoustic data were integrated to reconstruct the rock fall, which consisted of (1) the triggering of a 25 400 m3 rock block in an area of intersecting and sometimes highly weathered joint planes, (2) the sliding and subsequent ballistic trajectory of the block from a steeply dipping ledge, (3) dislodging...
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Supraglacial rivers on the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) transport large volumes of surface meltwater toward the ocean, yet have received relatively little direct research. This study presents field observations of channel width, depth, velocity, and water surface slope for nine supraglacial channels on the southwestern GrIS collected between 23 July and 20 August, 2012. Field sites are located up to 74 km inland and span 494-1485 m elevation, and contain measured discharges larger than any previous in situ study: from 0.006 to 23.12 m3/s in channels 0.20 to 20.62 m wide. All channels were deeply incised with near vertical banks, and hydraulic geometry results indicate that supraglacial channels primarily accommodate...
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Dam removals with unmanaged sediment releases are good opportunities to learn about channel response to abruptly increased bed material supply. Understanding these events is important because they affect aquatic habitats and human uses of floodplains. A longstanding paradigm in geomorphology holds that response rates to landscape disturbance exponentially decay through time. However, a previous study of the Merrimack Village Dam (MVD) removal on the Souhegan River in New Hampshire, USA, showed that an exponential function poorly described the early geomorphic response. Erosion of impounded sediments there was two-phased. We had an opportunity to quantitatively test the two-phase response model proposed for MVD by...
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Overland flow detectors (OFDs) were deployed in 2012 on a hillslope burned by the 2010 Fourmile Canyon fire near Boulder, Colorado, USA. These detectors were simple, electrical resistor-type instruments that output a voltage (0–2·5 V) and were designed to measure and record the time of runoff initiation, a signal proportional to water depth, and the runoff hydrograph during natural convective rainstorms.Initiation of runoff was found to be spatially complex and began at different times in different locations on the hillslope. Runoff started first at upstream detectors 56% of the time, at the mid-stream detectors 6%, and at the downstream detectors 38% of the time. Initiation of post-wildfire runoff depended on the...
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The use of acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCP) for discharge measurements and three-dimensional flow mapping has increased rapidly in recent years and has been primarily driven by advances in acoustic technology and signal processing. Recent research has developed a variety of methods for processing data obtained from a range of ADCP deployments and this paper builds on this progress by describing new software for processing and visualizing ADCP data collected along transects in rivers or other bodies of water. The new utility, the Velocity Mapping Toolbox (VMT), allows rapid processing (vector rotation, projection, averaging and smoothing), visualization (planform and cross-section vector and contouring),...
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Random walk models of fluvial sediment transport recognize that grains move intermittently, with short duration steps separated by rests that are comparatively long. These models are built upon the probability distributions of the step length and the resting time. Motivated by these models, tracer experiments have attempted to measure directly the steps and rests of sediment grains in natural streams. This paper describes results from a large tracer experiment designed to test stochastic transport models. We used passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags to label 893 coarse gravel clasts and placed them in Halfmoon Creek, a small alpine stream near Leadville, Colorado, USA. The PIT tags allow us to locate and identify...
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The Colorado River system in southern Utah and northern Arizona is continuing to adjust to the baselevel fall responsible for the carving of the Grand Canyon. Estimates of bedrock incision rates in this area vary widely, hinting at the transient state of the Colorado and its tributaries. In conjunction with these data, we use longitudinal profiles of the Colorado and tributaries between Marble Canyon and Cataract Canyon to investigate the incision history of the Colorado in this region. We find that almost all of the tributaries in this region steepen as they enter the Colorado River. The consistent presence of oversteepened reaches with similar elevation drops in the lower section of these channels, and their coincidence...
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Both equilibrium and episodic erosion features can be recognized in the modern landscape. An equilibrium condition is suggested by adjustment of first and second order streams to rock structure and lithology, entrenchment of some streams against gneiss domes, altitudinal zonation of rock types around gneiss domes, correlation of lithology with overburden thickness on uplands, etc. The long-term episodic character of erosion is suggested by clastic wedges on the adjacent Coastal Plain, an upland of low relief that truncates non-carbonate rocks of different lithologies, isovolumetric chemical weathering of alumino-silicate rocks, clastic deposition in marble valleys, and weathering profile truncation by modern drainage....
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Reliable estimates of sediment-budget errors are important for interpreting sediment-budget results. Sediment-budget errors are commonly considered equal to sediment-budget imbalances, which may underestimate actual sediment-budget errors if they include compensating positive and negative errors. We modified the sediment 'fingerprinting' approach to qualitatively evaluate compensating errors in an annual (1991) fine (<63 ??m) sediment budget for the North Halawa Valley, a mountainous, forested drainage basin on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, during construction of a major highway. We measured concentrations of aeolian quartz and 137Cs in sediment sources and fluvial sediments, and combined concentrations of these aerosols...
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A catastrophic lahar began on 30 October 1998, as hurricane precipitation triggered a small flank collapse of Casita volcano, a complex and probably dormant stratovolcano. The initial rockslide-debris avalanche evolved on the flank to yield a watery debris flood with a sediment concentration less than 60 per cent by volume at the base of the volcano. Within 2-5 km, however, the watery flow entrained (bulked) enough sediment to transform entirely to a debris flow. The debris flow, 6 km downstream and 1??2 km wide and 3 to 6 m deep, killed 2500 people, nearly the entire populations of the communities of El Porvenir and Rolando Rodriguez. These 'new towns' were developed in a prehistoric lahar pathway: at least three...
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High-resolution historical (1942) and recent (1994) digital terrain models were derived from aerial photographs along the Big Sur coastline in central California to measure the long-term volume of material that enters the nearshore environment. During the 52-year measurement time period, an average of 21 000 ?? 3100 m3 km-1 a-1 of material was eroded from nine study sections distributed along the coast, with a low yield of 1000 ?? 240 m3 km-1 a-1 and a high of 46 700 ?? 7300 m3 km-1 a-1. The results compare well with known volumes from several deep-seated landslides in the area and suggest that the processes by which material is delivered to the coast are episodic in nature. In addition, a number of parameters are...
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In the semi-arid Arroyo Chavez basin of New Mexico, a 2.28 km2 sub-basin of the Rio Puerco, we contrasted short-term rates (3 years) of sediment yield measured with sediment traps and dams with long-term, geologic rates (???10 000 years) of sediment production measured using 10Be. Examination of erosion rates at different time-scales provides the opportunity to contrast the human impact on erosion with background or geologic rates of sediment production. Arroyo Chavez is grazed and we were interested in whether differences in erosion rates observed at the two time-scales are due to grazing. The geologic rate of sediment production, 0-27 kg m-2 a -1 is similar to the modern sediment yields measured for geomorphic...
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The evolution of volcanic landscapes and their landslide potential are both dependent upon the weathering of layered volcanic rock sequences. We characterize critical zone structure using shallow seismic Vp and Vs profiles and vertical exposures of rock across a basaltic climosequence on Kohala peninsula, Hawai’i, and exploit the dramatic gradient in mean annual precipitation (MAP) across the peninsula as a proxy for weathering intensity. Seismic velocity increases rapidly with depth and the velocity–depth gradient is uniform across three sites with 500–600 mm/yr MAP, where the transition to unaltered bedrock occurs at a depth of 4 to 10 m. In contrast, velocity increases with depth less rapidly at wetter sites,...


map background search result map search result map Episodic incision of the Colorado River in Glen Canyon, Utah Rapid incision of the Colorado River in Glen Canyon - insights from channel profiles, local incision rates, and modeling of lithologic controls Episodic incision of the Colorado River in Glen Canyon, Utah Rapid incision of the Colorado River in Glen Canyon - insights from channel profiles, local incision rates, and modeling of lithologic controls