Sand pulses and sand patches on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon

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Abstract

Alluvial sandbars occur in lateral recirculation zones (eddies) along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park (Schmidt, 1990). Resource managers periodically release controlled floods from the upstream Glen Canyon Dam to rebuild these bars (Grams et al., 2015), which erode during fluctuating dam releases, and by hillslope runoff and wind deflation (Hazel et al., 2010). Because the dam blocks upstream sediment, episodic floods from tributaries provide the only supply to replace eroded sand; and much of this sand originates from a single tributary (Topping et al., 2000). Here, we present new evidence for the downstream translation of the sand component of these sediment inputs as discontinuous sand pulses. Improved understanding of the behaviour of these sand pulses may be used to adjust the timing, magnitude, and duration of controlled floods to maximize potential for deposition on sandbars in different segments of the 450 km-long Grand Canyon.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Sand pulses and sand patches on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher University of Trento - Italy
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 1 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title RCEM 2017 – Back to Italy—The 10th Symposium on River, Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics
First page 183
Last page 183
Conference Title RCEM 2017 – Back to Italy—The 10th Symposium on River, Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics
Conference Location Trento-Padova, Italy
Conference Date September 15-22, 2017
Country United States
Other Geospatial Colorado River, Grand Canyon