Stream channels in the Paria River basin were eroded and partially refilled between 1883 and 1980. Basin-wide erosion began in 1883; channels were fully entrenched and widened by 1890. This erosion occurred during the well-documented period of arroyo cutting in the Southwest. Photographs of the Paria River channel taken between 1918 and 1940 show that the channel did not have a floodplain and remained wide and deep until the early 1940s. A thin bar (<50 cm), now reworked and locally preserved, was deposited at that time. Basin-wide aggradation, which began in the early 1940s, developed floodplains by vertical accretion. The floodplain alluvium, 1.3-3 m thick. consists of two units recognizable throughout the studied area. An older unit was deposited during a time of low flow and sediment yield whereas the younger unit was deposited during times of high flow, sediment yield, and precipitation. Tree-ring dating suggests that the older unit was deposited between the early 1940s and 1956, and the younger between 1956 and 1980. The units are not time transgressive, suggesting that deposition by knickpoint recession was not an important process. High peak-flood discharges were associated with crosion and low flood discharges with aggradation. The erosional or aggradational mode of the streams was determined principally by peak-flood discharge, which in turn was controlled by precipitation. ?? 1986.
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Modern alluvial history of the Paria Rver drainage basin, southern Utah