Flood hazards of distributary-flow areas in Maricopa County, Arizona, can be distinguished on the basis of morphological features. Five distributary-flow areas represent the range of flood-hazard degree in the study area. Descriptive factors, including the presence of desert varnish and the absence of saguaro cactus, are more useful than traditional hydraulic-based methods in defining hazards. The width, depth, and velocity exponents of the hydraulic-geometry relations at the primary diffluences of the sites are similar to theoretical exponents for streams with cohesive bank material and the average exponents of stream channels in other areas in the United States. Because of the unexplained scatter of the values of the exponent of channel width, however, the use of average hydraulic-geometry relations is con- sidered inappropriate for characterizing flood hazards for specific distributary-flow in Maricopa County. No evidence has been found that supports the use of stochastic modeling of flows or flood hazards of many distributary-flow areas. The surface of many distributary-flow areas is stable with many distributary channels eroded in the calcreted surface material. Many distributary- flow areas do not appear to be actively aggrading today, and the paths of flow are not changing.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Potential flood hazards and hydraulic characteristics of distributary-flow areas in Maricopa County, Arizona
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey ;
USGS Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],