Sidescan sonar imagery and seismic-reflection profiles were collected in the northwestern part of Las Vegas Bay to map the distribution and volume of sediment that has accumulated in this part of Lake Mead since impoundment. The mapping suggests that three ephemeral streams are the primary source of this sediment, and of these, Las Vegas Wash is the largest. Two deltas off the mouth of Las Vegas Wash formed at different lake elevations and account for 41% of the total volume of post-impoundment sediment within the study area. Deltas off the other two washes (Gypsum and Government) account for only 6% of the total volume. The sediment beyond the front of the deltas is primarily mud, and it only occurs in valley floors, where it forms a flat-lying blanket that is mostly less than 1.5 m thick. Although a thin layer, the fine-grained sediment accounts for approximately 53% of the total post-impoundment sediment volume of 5.7 x 106 m3 that has accumulated in the study area. This sediment appears to have been transported several kilometers from the river sources by density flows.
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USGS Numbered Series
Surficial geology and distribution of post-impoundment sediment in Las Vegas Bay, Lake Mead