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Rapid geomorphic change caused by glacial outburst floods and debris flows along Tahoma Creek, Mount Rainier, Washington, USA

Arctic and Alpine Research

By:
and
https://doi.org/10.2307/1551792

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Abstract

As part of a hazards-assessment study, we examined the nature and rate of geomorphic change caused by outburst floods and debris flows along Tahoma Creek. Mount Rainier, since 1967. Archival aerial photographs of the area proved to be a rich source of qualitative geomorphic information. On the basis of limited direct evidence and considerations of stream hydrology, we conclude that nearly all of these debris flows began as outburst floods from South Tahoma Glacier. The water floods transformed to debris flows by incorporating large masses of sediment in a 2-km-long channel reach where the stream has incised proglacial sediments and debris-rich, stagnant glacier ice. Comparison of topographic maps for 1970 and 1991 shows that the average sediment flux out of the incised reach has been about 2 to 4 × 105 m3 a-1 corresponding to an average denudation rate in the upper part of the Tahoma Creek drainage basin of about 20 to 40 mm a-1, a value exceeded only rarely in basins affected by debris flows. However, little of this sediment has yet passed out of the Tahoma Creek basin. Comparison of geomorphic change at Tahoma Creek to that in two other alpine basins affected by outburst floods suggests that debris-rich stagnant ice can be an important source of sediment for debris flows as long as floods are frequent or channel slope is great.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Rapid geomorphic change caused by glacial outburst floods and debris flows along Tahoma Creek, Mount Rainier, Washington, USA
Series title:
Arctic and Alpine Research
DOI:
10.2307/1551792
Volume:
26
Issue:
4
Year Published:
1994
Language:
English
Publisher:
INSTAAR, University of Colorado
Contributing office(s):
Washington Water Science Center, Volcano Hazards Program
Description:
9 p.
First page:
319
Last page:
327
Country:
United States
State:
Washington
Other Geospatial:
Mount Rainier, Tahoma Creek
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N