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Low-flow sediment transport in the Colorado River

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Abstract

In support of beach-stability research, bedload and suspended sediment were measured during a steady flow of 5,880 ft3/s and receding flows from 12,100 to 5,660 ft3/s in the Colorado River above National Canyon, near Supai, Arizona, October 7-12, 1989. During steady flows, 75 percent of the mean total-sediment discharge of 128 t/d was in suspension and about half the total-sediement load was finer than 0.062 mm. Median grain sizes of bedload and bed material were 0.43 and 0.40 mm, respecively. Although steady-flow bedload transport varied from the mean by about 45 percent, suspended-sediment discharge remained constant within sampling error. Helley-Smith and BL-86-3 bedload samplers were not significantly different. At larger transport rates, however, the rates measured by the Helley-Smith exceeded those measure by the BL-86-3. Transport rates from bedload samples collected with Helley-Smith and BL-86-3 bedload samplers in sections 8 ft apart demonstrate no consistent autocorrelation or cross correlation. Cross-sectional bedload-transport rates measured concurrently or consecutively with the bedload samplers showed good agreement indicating that bedload varied by at least a factor of 2.4 during the steady-flow period. Ninety-five percent of the bedload transport during low flow occurred in the center one-third of the channel.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Low-flow sediment transport in the Colorado River
Volume 1
Year Published 1991
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Office of Surface Water
Description 9 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Proceedings of the Fifth Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference
First page 4-63
Last page 4-71
Conference Title Fifth Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference
Conference Location Las Vegas, Nevada
Conference Date March 18-21, 1991
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial Colorado River