Changes in the water surface profile of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, Arizona, between 1923 and 2000

Water Resources Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

In 1923, a U.S. Geological Survey expedition surveyed the water surface profile of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon with theodolite and stadia rod. In 2000, lidar overflights collected topographic data centered on the river corridor, allowing construction of a new water surface profile and detection of change in the profile since 1923. By registering the surveys with respect to each other on the basis of 11 locations that were independently determined to have been unchanged between 1923 and 2000, 80 rapids were directly compared for change between 1923 and 2000. The average change for all measured rapids was +0.26 m, indicating net aggradation of the coarse‐grained alluvium forming the rapids throughout Grand Canyon. In addition, comparison of the two water surface profiles showed enhanced pool‐and‐rapid morphology. While 50% of the total drop of the river occurred in just 9% of the river distance in 1923, that value increased to 66% by 2000.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Changes in the water surface profile of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, Arizona, between 1923 and 2000
Series title Water Resources Research
DOI 10.1029/2003WR002519
Volume 41
Issue 5
Year Published 2005
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Washington Water Science Center
Description Article W05021; 10 p.
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial Colorado River, Grand Canyon
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N