The characteristics of sediment discharge in the Yukon River, Alaska were investigated by monitoring water discharge, water turbidity and water temperature. The river-transported sediment, 90 wt.% or more, consists of silt and clay (grain size ??? 62.5 ??m), which probably originated in the glacier-covered mountains mostly in the Alaska Range. For early June to late August 1999, we continuously measured water turbidity and temperature near the estuary and in the middle of Yukon River by using self-recording turbidimeters and temperature data loggers. The water turbidity (ppm) was converted to suspended sediment concentration (SSC; mg/l) of river water, using a relation between simultaneous turbidity and SSC at each of the two sites, and then, the suspended sediment discharge, approximately equal to water discharge times SSC, was numerically obtained every 1 or 2 h. It should be noted that the sediment discharge in the Yukon River is controlled by SSC rather than water discharge. As a result, a peak sediment discharge occurred in mid or late August by local sediment runoffs due to glacier-melt (or glacier-melt plus rainfall), while a peak water discharge was produced by snowmelt in late June or early July. Application of the "extended Shields diagram" indicates that almost all the river-transported sediments are under complete suspension. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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Characteristics of sediment discharge in the subarctic Yukon River, Alaska