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Hydrologic hazards along Squaw Creek from a hypothetical failure of the glacial moraine impounding Carver Lake near Sisters, Oregon

Open-File Report 87-41

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Abstract

A hydrologic hazard exists that could create a large-magnitude, but short-duration, flood in the Squaw Creek drainage and inundate areas in and around the community of Sisters, Oregon. There is a 1 to 5% probability that Carver Lake, located at elevation 7,800 ft above sea level on the east slope of South Sister mountain, Oregon, could catastrophically empty. At the U.S. Geological Survey gage (14075000) on Squaw Creek between Carver Lake and Sisters, the magnitude of the breakout flood would be 10 times that of a 1% probability meteorological flood. In Sisters, the magnitude of the breakout flood would be about five times that of a 1% probability meteorological flood. Several conditions at Carver Lake indicate the potential hazard: (1) The lake is very deep for its size; the lake contains 740 acre-ft of water and is more than 100 ft deep; (2) There is a probability that a large magnitude avalanche and consequent overtopping of the lake could occur. There are steep slopes of unstable volcanic rock and an extensively cravassed glacier located above the lake; (3) The moraine dam confining the lake is steep-faced, rendering the dam unstable, and unvegetated making it highly erodible; (4) Large amounts of readily erodible material available for transport would increase the magnitude of a large flood and keep the flood from attenuating in the steep reaches of the Squaw Creek channel; (5) and, Geologically, there is a greater than normal possibility for the area to become seismically active. Earthquakes could cause rock and ice to fall into the lake. A one-dimensional unsteady-state streamflow model was used to route a hypothetical flood down the Squaw Creek drainage. This scenario creates a starting hydrograph with a peak of 180,000 cu ft/sec. The ensuing hypothetical flood would incorporate readily erodible debris and sediments in the steep canyons, increasing the total volume of the flood by a factor of two. As the peak emerges from the steeper slopes into a more gently sloping valley 8 miles from the lake, the peak would attenuate to 47,000 cu ft/sec. At the Geological Survey gage at river mile 26.6, the peak would attenuate to 21,000 cu ft/sec. In Sisters on the alluvial fan, at about 20 miles downstream from the lake, the peak would continue to attenuate to 9,800 cu ft/sec. (Lantz-PTT)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Hydrologic hazards along Squaw Creek from a hypothetical failure of the glacial moraine impounding Carver Lake near Sisters, Oregon
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
87-41
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1987
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
viii, 48 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.