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 with the sediment budget to construct aerosol budgets. Aerosol concentrations were independent of the sediment budget, hence aerosol budgets were less likely than sediment budgets to include compensating errors. Differences between sediment-budget and aerosol-budget imbalances therefore provide a measure of compensating errors in the sediment budget. The sediment-budget imbalance equalled 25% of the fluvial fine-sediment load. Aerosol-budget imbalances were equal to 19% of the fluvial 137Cs load and 34% of the fluval quartz load. The reasonably close agreement between sediment- and aerosol-budget imbalances indicates that compensating errors in the sediment budget were not large and that the sediment-budget imbalance as a reliable measure of sediment-budget error. We attribute at least one-third of the 1991 fluvial fine-sediment load to highway construction. Continued monitoring indicated that highway construction produced 90% of the fluvial fine-sediment load during 1992. Erosion of channel margins and attrition of coarse particles provided most of the fine sediment produced by natural processes. Hillslope processes contributed relatively minor amounts of sediment.
Additional publication details
Using sediment 'fingerprints' to assess sediment-budget errors, north Halawa Valley, Oahu, Hawaii, 1991-92