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Stratigraphy, sedimentology, and volume of sediments behind a dam relic on the Muskegon River, Big Rapids, Michigan

Water-Resources Investigations Report 97-4069

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Abstract

The proposed removal of the remnants of a hydroelectric dam in the Muskegon River at Big Rapids, Michigan, will potentially affect flow of the river at the city's water intake system. Fifteen boreholes were augered in bottom sediments in the river just upstream from the dam relic, and streambottom profiles were made using ground-penetrating radar. Data from boreholes show that sediments captured by the dam foundation were deposited in two distinctly different sedimentary environments. Sediments that overlie the pre-dam channel surface consist of lacustrine clay, wood chips, silt, and sand. These lacustrine sediments are interbedded in a cyclical fashion, and they were deposited under low flow to stagnant water conditions during 1916-66, when a 17-foot-tall hydroelectric dam was in place. Demolition of the upper 13 feet of this dam in 1966 resulted in erosion of most of the lacustrine sediments, and subsequent deposition of coarser alluvium in the impoundment behind the remaining dam foundation.

Lacustrine sediments are present in the active part of the stream channel and extend from the dam foundation to about 1,300 feet upstream. The composite thickness of lacustrine sediments and overlying coarser alluvium was determined from sediment cores collected from the boreholes. The volume of these sediments is estimated to be about 19,000 cubic yards.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Stratigraphy, sedimentology, and volume of sediments behind a dam relic on the Muskegon River, Big Rapids, Michigan
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
97-4069
Year Published:
1997
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Michigan Water Science Center
Description:
iv, 14 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Michigan
City:
Big Rapids