Distinctive far-traveled fluvial sediment of the lower Colorado River fills 20 paleo-valleys now stranded by the river downstream of Grand Canyon as it crosses the Basin and Range Province. These sediments resulted from two or more aggradational epi sodes in Pliocene and Pleistocene times following initial incision during the early Pliocene. A review of the stratigraphic evidence of major swings in river elevation over the last 5 m.y. from alternating degradation and aggradation episodes establishes a framework for understanding the incision and filling of the paleovalleys. The paleo-valleys are found mostly along narrow bedrock canyon reaches of the river, where divides of bedrock or old deposits separate them from the modern river. The paleo-valleys are interpreted to have stemmed from periods of aggradation that filled and broadened the river valley, burying low uplands in the canyon reaches into which later channel positions were entrenched during subsequent degradation episodes. The aggradation-degradation cycles resulted in the stranding of incised river valleys that range in elevation from near the modern river to 350 m above it. ?? 2008 The Geological Society of America.
Additional publication details
Age, distribution, and formation of late cenozoic paleovalleys of the lower Colorado River and their relation to river aggradation and degradation
Larger Work Title:
Special Paper of the Geological Society of America